To us a local hero and creator of a superb ground – but to his family a soft grandpa with a kind smile
Alan Shearer attends the funeral of Freddy Shepherd at St George’s Church in Jesmond Reporter FAMILY, friends, and footballing legends have said goodbye to “local hero” and devoted family man Freddy Shepherd.
The Newcastle businessman and former NUFC owner was laid to rest yesterday, with a memorial at St George’s Church in Jesmond.
The 75-year-old died suddenly on September 25, leaving behind his wife Lorelle, three sons Charles, Kenneth and Warwick, and brother Bruce, along with three grandchildren.
Famous faces including Alan Shearer, Wayne Rooney and Declan Donnelly came to pay their respects - yet the service Sir John Hall focused not on Mr Shepherd’s public achievements, but his immense love for his family.
Paying tribute to his father, son Warwick said: “Dad’s most important legacy was always his family, and it is our duty to continue the work he started, in his honour.
“The public Freddy is a very different person to Freddy the husband, the father, the uncle and the grandpa. His family undoubtedly gave him his greatest source of pride. “This soft grandpa with the warmest of hearts and the kindest of smiles asked nothing of us, but gave us everything.”
Standing before the crowd of hundreds, former NUFC striker addressed himself directly to the Shepherd family.
He said: “I can’t begin to imagine the loss you feel right now, but I do know it only hurts so much because of the laughter and memories you all created together.
“Of all his many great achievement, by far the best of them are sitting here today.”
And he said he would be “forever grateful” to the former chairman for “bringing me home” to the club he had supported as a boy, and said that the statue of himself which Mr Shepherd was instrumental in bringing to St James’ Park would stand “as a permanent reminder of him, of the pride he had in Newcastle”.
“Coming back to my club, breaking the goal scoring record, living my dream - I can thank Freddy for all of that,” he added.
“We will miss you, Mr Chairman - we will miss you Freddy.”
Sir John Hall, Mr Shepherd’s former business partner, opened his tribute with the Local Hero theme, played before NUFC home games, saying it was a fitting tune for Mr Shepherd.
In a warm and moving speech, which often drew laughs from the crowd, he recounted the moment the pair took control of the club, and their pride when the team saw success.
He said: “He was my local hero, our local hero, someone who had done so much for the region, and with me for the football club.”
He added “We came to realise that we never owned the football club - it was the fans’ club, we