Northern Ireland news

Charlton and Ferguson expected at Harry Gregg funeral in Coleraine

The funeral of former Manchester United goalkeeper Harry Gregg will take place on Friday

FIGURES from Manchester United and Northern Ireland football will be among mourners set to attend the funeral of Harry Gregg in Coleraine.

Hundreds of people are set to gather at St Patrick's Parish Church on Friday to pay their last respects to the footballing legend, who passed away on Sunday aged 87.

Former Manchester United managers Sir Bobby Charlton and Sir Alex Ferguson, as well as many figures from Northern Ireland footballing circles are expected to attend the service.

Gregg's cortege will also pass The Showgrounds football stadium in Coleraine, where he played as a young man, before he is laid to rest at Coleraine Cemetery.

A book of condolences was opened in Coleraine Town Hall in memory of the legendary goalkeeper after his death was announced by the Harry Gregg Foundation on Monday morning.

Originally from Magherafelt, he has been remembered as a "fantastic goalkeeper but more importantly an incredible human being".

Gregg was a survivor of the air disaster on February 6 1958, in which 23 people were killed, and twice returned to the burning fuselage to drag team-mates and strangers to safety.

He rescued United team-mates Bobby Charlton and Dennis Viollet from the BEA Flight 609, as well as a 20-month-old baby and her badly injured, pregnant mother.

Harry Gregg passed away on Sunday. Picture by PA

On Monday night, Manchester United's players wore black armbands during their Premier League clash with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge as a mark of respect following Gregg's death.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also paid tribute to Gregg.

"He was outspoken, he had opinions about football and he'll be sadly missed by everyone at the club," Solskjaer said.

"He was a heroic figure, not just a goalkeeper but he saved people's lives.

"He will never be forgotten at the club."

Gregg also made 25 appearances for Northern Ireland between 1954 and 1963.

The funeral of former Manchester United goalkeeper Harry Gregg will take place on Friday. Picture by Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker

His funeral will take place at noon.

Gregg is survived by his wife Carolyn, children Linda, Julie, Jane, Suzanne, John-Henry and family circle.

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