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Hundreds pay respects to Dalian Atkinson at the former Ipswich Town striker's funeral

PUBLISHED: 13:43 19 November 2016 | UPDATED: 13:43 19 November 2016

Dalian Atkinson in action for ipswich Town at Portman Road. Photo: Richard Rackham

Dalian Atkinson in action for ipswich Town at Portman Road. Photo: Richard Rackham

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Hundreds of mourners including former football stars paid their respects today to 'charismatic' ex-Ipswich Town and Aston Villa striker Dalian Atkinson.

The coffin of Dalian Atkinson is carried into Telford Crematorium Chapel. Photo : Joe Giddens/PA WireThe coffin of Dalian Atkinson is carried into Telford Crematorium Chapel. Photo : Joe Giddens/PA Wire

A funeral service at Telford Crematorium remembered the life of the 48-year-old who was described in the service as ‘energetic, cheeky and funny’.

Mr Atkinson was shot with a taser by West Mercia police officers on August 15 during an incident at his home in Telford, Shropshire.

He died 90 minutes later despite doctors carrying out CPR for more than half an hour to try and save him..

At the humanist funeral this morning, celebrant Peter Mansell said: “There was no one quite like Dalian, there was never before and there will never be again.”

Mourners arrive at Telford Crematorium Chapel for the funeral of former Ipswich footballer Dalian Atkinson. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA WireMourners arrive at Telford Crematorium Chapel for the funeral of former Ipswich footballer Dalian Atkinson. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

He told mourners how as a youngster, Mr Atkinson played football in the street in Meadow Close with his brothers and friends, the same road he was shot on years later.

He was spotted by talents scouts as a schoolboy, earning himself an apprenticeship at Ipswich Town.

“He found sitting at a school desk boring, but excelled at football and athletics,” said Mr Mansell.

He described Mr Atkinson’s love of the ‘playboy lifestyle’ that he was ‘energetic, cheeky and funny’ but also ‘generous, caring and protective’.

Mourners at funeral of formerfootballer Dalian Atkinson. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA WireMourners at funeral of formerfootballer Dalian Atkinson. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

“For those who loved Dalian, a part of their world is gone,” he added

Mr Atkinson’s niece Josie paid tribute to her uncle.

“Inspiration is the work most appropriate to you,” she said, “a figure I looked up to and still do.”

Another niece, Cleo, said: “You had such a charismatic soul and enriched everyone’s lives with your intellect, insight and warmth, never failing to make people around you laugh.”

At the end of the service, mourners were told there was ‘only one song’ left to play in his memory.

As they filed out, En Vogue’s ‘What a man’ filled the air.

Mr Atkinson is to be interred at the nearby Hadley Cemetery later.

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