Funeral at Bolton Abbey Priory July 6, 2006

Friends bid farewell to Trueman

Cricinfo staff

Fred Trueman's coffin is carried into the church © Getty Images
Friends and former team-mates have said their final farewells to Fred Trueman whose funeral took place this afternoon at Bolton Abbey Priory, North Yorkshire.

Trueman was diagnosed with a form of lung cancer in May and died on Saturday. Ray Illingworth and Brian Close, the former England captain, joined several hundred mourners at the church where Trueman was a regular worshipper.

"He was a genius. And I use that word very, very sparingly," Dickie Bird, the former Test umpire told the congregation in his tribute to Trueman. "There have not been very many geniuses in sport -- Muhammad Ali in boxing, (Diego) Maradona, Pele and (George) Best in football, Michael Johnson the great American athlete, (Don) Bradman, (Garfield) Sobers, (Dennis) Lilliee and Trueman. I put him up there.

"A genius - and all these I have mentioned had a wonderful, wonderful gift. You cannot coach the gift, and that was balance. Trueman had wonderful balance. He bowled at pace, he swung the ball away late and by doing that he got all the great players in the world out.

"You are cherished, my friend, you are cherished by us all," he added. The Reverend John Ward, Rector of Bolton Abbey, said England had lost a "genuine sporting hero".

"But the loss to his country, his fans or his friends is as nothing compared to that of his family," he said. "We meet many of us as strangers yet bound by our affection and respect for what I can only describe as a cricketing colossus.

"A man capable of crossing all boundaries, be it four runs, six runs or social class."

The Yorkshire coach David Byas and captain Craig White also attended the service. Byas added: "He epitomised everything that cricket was about. He was a true Yorkshireman. He was Yorkshire through-and-through."

A book of condolence has been opened at Headingley, which will eventually be presented to his widow.