HUNDREDS of people attended the funeral of a popular and decorated surgeon who worked in Bolton for three decades.

Family, friends and former colleagues paid tribute to Naganath Hanamanthrao Mahindrakar, describing him as a “special human being” who always put others first.

Mr Mahindrakar died, aged 81, after he suffered a heart attack at his Chorley New Road home on July 11.

He had been joint head of the Royal Bolton Hospital’s ear, nose and throat department from 1970 until his retirement in 1997.

Born in Dharwad in India in 1932, Mr Mahindrakar moved to Bolton in 1968, having previously worked in London and Manchester.

As well as his professional achievements, he was a passionate charity suspporter and through Rotary International he successfully established a charitable status blood bank in his home town of Dharwad.

His efforts saw him awarded the Paul Harris Fellow award for “service over self” — the highest accolade offered by Rotary International.

His former colleague and friend Peter Anderson told the crowd gathered at Overdale Crematorium: “He was a really good chap — he and I got on so well.

“He was actually the reason I came to Bolton — when he moved here I followed because I wanted to be around him’”

“We worked together for 45 years and never had a problem, I suspect he is up there now giggling at us now.”

Mr Mahindrakar leaves behind two sons, Arwin and Peter, from his first marriage to Ursula Quirk.

After Mrs Quirk died he married Theresa O’Grady in 1994.

Speaking at the funeral, Arwin, aged 46, a computer-engineer from Heaton, said his father was “an amazing person”.

He said: “He loved people and people loved him —he would always light up the room when he walked in and despite his important position, he was never arrogant.

“He was a very successful man, he preferred to help others, he overcame so many obstacles so easily.

“My father was a special human being, there are other men like him — but they are few and far between.”