IT was standing room only as hundreds gathered at the crematorium to pay their last respects to a popular retired businessman citizen who died following a road accident.
Haresfinch-born Bill Appleton, 81, was driving through Garswood on December 21 when his car hit a tree.
He later passed away in hospital with the shock waves being felt throughout the area.
A man of many talents, he was a minister of a Billinge church, retired builder, RAF National Service veteran, and founder of Haresfinch Rovers soccer team in 1951.
Eloquent tributes to a life lived to the full was paid at Bill’s committal by preacher Ronnie Chorlton and by son-in-law John Alker.
Bill was pre-deceased by wife Olive and brother Bernard. He leaves children Susan, John and Helen and their families, plus his younger brother Geoff.
Readers at the emotional thanksgiving were granddaughters Gemma, Rebecca, Lindsay and Olivia.
From a personal point of view I was privileged to know Bill from early days at Lowe House school and Boys Club.
While at Crab Street he excelled as a ‘stopper’ centre half. It was uplifting to see former teammates such as Tommy McGinn, Bernard Sweeney and Austin Taylor among the mourners.
Appleton was also no slouch in the boxing ring and often sparred with Bill Connor, Arthur Halsall and Albert Freeman. Bill also enjoyed leading roles in Lowe House amateur dramatics including the hilarious Widow Twankey part.
A committed Christian, William Josiah Appleton enriched the lives of all who knew him, evidence of this coming with the outpouring of grief at his passing.
Following the funeral, mourners were invited to Houghwood Golf Club, where anecdotal tales of his happy life were chewed over the odd glass or two.
A memorial service will be held at Billinge Christian Believers Church on Sunday, February 3. at 10.30am.
Donations in Bill Appleton’s memory are invited.