“MARCHING on together” – devastated family and friends stood united as they said their final goodbyes to Whitwell Boot and Shoe landlord Craig Carrington.
There was standing room only as mourners gathered at St Lawrence’s Church for the emotional, yet uplifting service on Thursday 7th July.
His devoted partner and fellow landlady Kay Towers carried his coffin – bedecked with his beloved Leeds United colours – into church, helped by her son Daniel and Craig’s nephews David and Matthew Wright.
Craig collapsed suddenly at his home on Thursday 23rd June and passed away a day later, aged just 45.
Rev Amanda Pike, who led the service, paid a touching tribute to Craig, better known as Caz, and called on mourners to celebrate his life and how he made so many people smile.
“Caz was one of three children who, with his cheeky grin and good looks, could get whatever he wanted,” she said.
“He met Kay at school in Creswell and she fancied him straightaway but it would take 22 years before they got together.”
Rev Pike spoke of his popularity at work during his years at the pit and Tours Construction, and his devotion to his children Luke, Joe, Chloe and stepson Daniel.
“He had such a big heart and never had a bad word to say about anybody,” she said.
“He always put his children first and Kay was his very own Cheeky Girl in more ways than one.”
The congregation heard how Craig was at his happiest when he took over the pub with Kay and relished being at the centre of village life, surrounded by people.
Said Rev Pike: “He found himself in an environment he adored and loved playing poker and snooker.”
“He even wore a mankini in the pub one Christmas.”
“Kay and Craig made a great team and they enjoyed organising events in the community.”
“But they always tried to have a couple of nights off in front of a DVD with an enormous bar of chocolate and tin of Stones.”
Mourners then reflected on Craig’s life as they listened to Atlantic Starr’s Always before leaving the church to the sounds of the Cheeky Girls which prompted many smiles through the tears.
A service was held at Brimington Crematorium before mourners headed back to the Boot and Shoe for a final farewell to Craig.