LES Jarvis lived alongside Manchester City and United fans for more than half a century but never lost the passion for his home town club.
And while his Blues and Reds supporting neighbours in Denton enjoyed the rise and rise of the Mancunian footballing superpowers, Barrow-born Les kept the faith for his beloved Bluebirds.
So, when Les was laid to rest in January, his family ensured the service at Dukinfield Crematorium was Barrow AFC themed.
The former shipyard worker’s coffin was engraved with the club crest. And with help of officials, it was draped by a flag taken from the terraces of the League Two club.
Additionally, the service included the version of All Together Now, the Farm classic recorded by Barrow’s 2010 FA Trophy winning squad.
“When Les died, in one hand, he was holding his wife Marion’s hand and in the other, he was holding his Barrow shirt,” said grandson Jamie Meakin who lives in Mossley. “The club meant that much to him.”
The father of one and granddad of two, who died aged 79, on December 14, was a painter and decorator, leaving Barrow in the 1960s to work in London.
“He always told us how he painted the visitors’ staircase at Buckingham Palace in gold leaf,” recalled daughter Wendy Meakin, who now lives in Wales but grew up in Tameside.
A keen tennis fan, Les was particularly fond of 1969 Wimbledon ladies singles champion Ann Jones.
“He met her once and managed to get a kiss on the cheek. He was made up,” laughed Wendy.
Later, after moving to Manchester, Les bumped into The Beatles in a lift at a city centre hotel.
Despite his celebrity encounters, Les remained down to earth, liking nothing better than a pint after work at his one-time local, the Dog and Partridge on Ashton Road, Denton.
Friend Tony Birkett, who was one of Les’s pallbearers, was landlord at the time and the pair struck up a great friendship. He also became his mate’s designated driver to home and away fixtures.
“Les was a real character and enjoyed his pints,” he said. “I asked him what he liked to do and suggested we go to watch Barrow.
“It was one of his regrets he didn’t drive but I didn’t mind taking him to games. We would pick and choose our matches but Les loved to go and support.
“He didn’t really have one particularly favourite place in the ground; he just liked to wander. But that was Les – he was a great bloke and he will be missed.”
A Barrow AFC spokesman said: “We were sorry to hear of Les’s passing. The club sends its condolences to his family.”