“He lived life his way without compromise - he would help anyone and ask for nothing and never changed” - former Norwich City right-back Phil Kelly’s life is celebrated in Norwich

Hundreds of people gathered today to remember former Norwich City player Phil Kelly - and celebrate his charm, generosity and sporting talent.

Dublin-born Mr Kelly, who won five Republic of Ireland international caps, died after a long illness at his home near Norwich on August 11.

Friends and family joined together for a mass celebrating the 73-year-old's life at St John's Roman Catholic Cathedral, in Unthank Road, Norwich.

Richard Harrison said he felt 'honoured and humbled' to have an opportunity to pay tribute to his brother-in-law during the service. He recalled memories of Mr Kelly enjoying a pint at the Beehive Pub, off Unthank Road, Norwich, and being part of the golf society.

Mr Harrison said his relative, a father-of-three daughters, also excelled at rugby, squash and helped raise around �50,000 through his love of cricket and involvement with the Black Sheep Cricket Club.

He also urged people to listen to a recent Future Radio interview, in which Mr Kelly was asked about his time playing football.

Mr Harrison said: 'When asked what age did he realise he had great footballing talent, after a few moments Phil replied, with a chuckle, and said 'Ah, about three months ago'. He didn't do himself justice.

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'Phil didn't have the greatest luck in the world, usually with his health, but he never complained. He lived life his way without compromise - he would help anyone and ask for nothing and never changed.'

Mr Kelly signed for the Canaries from Wolverhampton Wanderers on August 9, 1962. The right-back made 114 league appearances for Norwich, scoring two goals. He also played seven games in the FA Cup and 13 in the League Cup, scoring once.

Speaking after the service, Peter Rodger, Mr Kelly's nephew, said: 'He was the life and soul. I remember in my younger days playing rugby against him in Holt. He was competitive.'

Steve Henson, chairman of Norwich Rugby Club, said: 'He always had a smile, very cheerful and a really nice bloke. He was a very talented sportsman.'

Mr Kelly leaves a partner, Sally, and is survived by Bernard, one of his three brothers. He had three daughters, Nicola, Tara and Sara, and seven grandchildren.

Donations in memory of Mr Kelly may be made payable to Alzheimer's Society and Black Sheep Cricket Charity and sent to c/o Allcock Family Funeral Services, Falcon House, 96a City Road, Norwich, NR1 2HD.

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