Funeral of tragic Gary who died in snow

Touching tributes were made at the funeral of “unique” young man Gary Windle who died during heavy snowfall in Burnley.

Hundreds of mourners of all ages packed into St John the Evangelist Church, Worsthorne, to say their heartfelt goodbyes to the popular 25-year-old who was discovered buried in a snow drift in Shay Lane, near Monk Hall Farm, Briercliffe, on March 23rd.

Funeral of 25-year-old Gary Windle at St John the Evangelist Church in Worsthorne.'Photo Ben Parsons

Funeral of 25-year-old Gary Windle at St John the Evangelist Church in Worsthorne.'Photo Ben Parsons

A floral bouquet in the shape of a snooker table greeted mourners as they filed into the village church.

His friend of 20 years, Gareth Smith, gave a touching eulogy and called on the mourners to “not remember how he died, but how he lived.”

He recounted memories of playing computer games and socialising with Gary at home and lovingly described him as a “dipstick” and “plonker”.

He added: “Gary was unique. The world isn’t big enough to have two people like him. He was a loving son, brother, uncle and friend.”

Funeral of 25-year-old Gary Windle at St John the Evangelist Church in Worsthorne.'Photo Ben Parsons

Funeral of 25-year-old Gary Windle at St John the Evangelist Church in Worsthorne.'Photo Ben Parsons

The Tesco worker’s white coffin had earlier been carried in to church to the accompaniment of “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls before the opening hymn “Morning Has Broken”.

Gary’s brother Lee had chosen the Oasis sing “Little By Little” before Fr Keith Henshall spoke movingly on behalf of the family.

He described Gary’s love of golf and how his friends believed he would be better at crazy golf. His favourite phrase of “smooth” brought laughter from the tearful congregation as it was recalled by Fr Henshall.

The minister then read out a letter of condolence from Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

The closing hymn “Jerusalem” was sang before Gary’s coffin was carried out to Pachelbel’s Cannon in D major played on the organ. He was then laid to rest in the church graveyard.

The family asked for any donations to be made to the North West Air Ambulance.