LOVED ones gathered to say goodbye to a former footballer and well-known garage supplies business owner.

More than 120 people gathered to attend Raymond “Ray” Byrom’s funeral at St Mary’s RC Church in Oswaldtwistle.

Mr Byrom played for Accrington Stanley for two years from 1957, before moving to Bradford Park Avenue for three years.

The 85-year-old’s coffin, sporting the personalised licence plate he had owned for 46 years, was carried through the church by loved ones.

Mr Byrom, known as ‘Flash’ in his playing days, was a pacey left-winger and moved to Bradford Park Avenue when his former Stanley boss, Walter Galbraith, asked him to follow him to the West Yorkshire club.

During the service, Ian Byrom, Ray’s son, said: “My dad was an amazing man.

“He was always happy with a smile on his face.

“That smile will be awfully missed.

“Mum said he had to go because he had received a call from heaven.

“God was desperate for a fast left-winger and needed a first-class driver," said Ian.

Originally from Blackburn, but most recently living in Oswaldtwistle, Mr Byrom suffered a career-ending injury during a match against Crewe Alexandra in 1961 which saw his leg in a cast for 18 months.

After his football career, Ray set up Ray’s Garage Supplies in 1972 with his wife Agnes.

During the service Ian said: “He was very proud of his business.

“It is still going strongly years later.

“Employees from past and present said they never worked for my dad, they worked with him,” said Ian.

Speaking about his father’s relationship with his wife, he said: “What a wonderful marriage they had, it was a wonderful 62 years.

“It was true love, not a lot of people experience that.

“Mum has lost her best friend and and best husband she could ever wish for.

“I would like to thank everyone for coming here.

“We have been overwhelmed by the love and support from everyone, near and far,” Ian added.