Tributes to Bolton Wanderers legend Malcolm Barrass
FRIENDS, family and football fans gathered for the funeral of Bolton Wanderers legend Malcolm Barrass — who died earlier this month at the age of 88.
The former England international made 357 appearances for Wanderers, after signing amateur forms for the club in 1944 and playing his last game 12 years later in 1956.
He died earlier this month following a long battle with dementia.
The funeral service was led by Bolton Wanderers club chaplain Phil Mason, who said he was honoured and privileged to lead the service for a “kind and caring person, with a cheeky smile and a real sense of fun”.
The service began with two readings — before Mr Mason moved onto a reflection and celebration of Malcolm’s life.
He discussed Malcolm’s early years — when he would watch his father, Matthew, play football for Manchester City.
He moved on to talk about Malcolm’s widow Joyce — how the two got married in 1947 and “the lifetime of love they shared together”.
Mr Mason addressed Joyce, children Robert and Lynne and the rest of the family when saying: “I know this will not be an easy day and you have all been through a rollercoaster of emotions — but it is important that you have the opportunity to share Malcolm’s story and celebrate all the love that you have shared over the years.”
In later life, Malcolm faced battles with bowel cancer and multiple strokes, as well as dementia.
Mr Mason added: “He never complained or showed how ill he was — and that shows the resilience and strength of the man.”
Guests were also told of some of the former footballer’s funny habits — including “eating apple, orange and banana sandwiches while watching the snooker” and how he was most comfortable when holding court at the head of the table during Christmas dinner.
The reflection was followed by prayers of thanksgiving, a poem and the hymn Abide with Me. The service ended with the Louis Armstrong song, What a Wonderful World — “an important song for Malcolm”.
Attending the funeral were lifelong Bolton Wanderers fans, brothers Michael and Tom Jowles, aged 69 and 73 from Westhoughton — who enjoyed watching Malcolm in action in his playing days.
Michael said: “He was a great player — hard but fair and we just thought it was important to come down and pay our respects to him.”
Tom added: “It was a lovely service and really summed him up well.”
After the service guests were invited to join the family for refreshments at Bury Golf Club — where Malcolm enjoyed playing.
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