A guard of honour lined the streets for the funeral of a popular Northampton night porter who died in a freak accident at a town centre nightclub in May.
Vincent Lovell - known to many as Vinnie - had been enjoying an evening out with his friend at Retro Bar in Bridge Street on May 29, when he suffered a fatal fall.
The popular 41-year-old, who grew up in Little Houghton and lived in Hardingstone, was a porter in the Manfield theatres at Northampton General Hospital.
The “big-hearted” rugby fan had also been a steward at Northampton Saints for more than a decade.
More than 300 people attended his funeral in Little Houghton on Friday, with many lining the churchyard to form a guard of honour as the funeral cortege approached.
His father Derek said: “How wonderful to see to see hundreds of people gathered for the funeral, roads lined with a guard of honour and the church full to capacity.
“Was this ceremony for a local dignitary or someone of high office? No.
“It was for an ordinary working man, a hospital porter, a rugby club steward who had such a big heart so full of gentle kindness that his warmth and generosity touched a lot of people.
“His name? Vincent James Lovell – Vinnie You will remain always in our hearts, love you forever.”
Mr Lovell had trained as a baker and worked in a number of professions before finding his calling as a porter.
His mother, Gill, said Mr Lovell was known for helping patients feel at ease when they arrived at the hospital.
“I remember he even knew all the children’s songs, when they came in,” she said. “He would be there singing them ‘the wheels on the bus’.”
His younger sister Amanda, said the amount of tributes from those who knew Vinnie had been a source of real pride for his family.
She said: “A lot of people through the Saints and through the hospital have been saying how caring he was.
“He just made everyone feel better, he just cared for people.”
Mr Lovell also had an older brother, Nick.
His family could were amazed how many people turned up to the funeral at St Mary’s The Virgin church in Little Houghton, where there was standing room only.
Amanda said: “The hearse could hardly get through, there were so many people and cars there.”
“Mum said to the vicar, ‘shouldn’t these people all be inside’ and he said to us ‘they are, it’s a guard of honour’.”
Tributes poured in for Mr Lovell after his death in May and they still continue to today. He had worked at NGH for 15 years and was known for his cheerful nature.
Mum, Gill, said he was so popular because he treated everyone with the same respect.
She said: “He didn’t care if you were the lord of he manor or the knight of the road, if you needed a hand up his big hand would give it to you.”