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Monday, 25 May 2015

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Farewell to Barrow pub landlord

HUNDREDS of mourners turned out to pay their respects to a great-grandad described “as one of Barrow’s finest”.

Most people had to stand outside the packed Thorncliffe Crematorium yesterday for the funeral of Dia Healey, who died, aged 73, over the last bank holiday weekend.

Just as his wife Sue insisted, the service was a celebration of the dad-of-six’s eventful life. The anecdotes read by Reverend Stuart Matthews had people laughing on numerous occasions, as his words were projected via speakers to the crowd outside.

The long-serving pub landlord, who ran Healeys, formerly the Devonshire and Fatties in Hindpool, Barrow, was described as “quite the character, larger than life and generous to a fault”.

In a unique mark of respect to Mr Healey, a great lover of rugby league, former Barrow RL player Moses Keresoma flew over especially from Australia and led a five-man Haka, which included fellow Maori and former Barrow RL player Reg Dunn.

Mr Keresoma’s voice cracked as he told how he was due to surprise Dia and Sue with a visit for his 50th next year. He said: “The last time I was here was 22 years ago and I played for three years for Barrow and they were probably the most enjoyable years of my life. And that was down to Dia and Sue who pretty much took us in, me and Reg. From day one, he treated us like family and he will be with me forever.”

The service was told of Mr Healey’s many jobs. He was “the first to say he was a jack of all trades and master of none” and even found work in Falmouth by pretending to be a qualified pipefitter. He was also renowned for his time as a doorman at The 99 Club and as a taxi driver.

The congregation was in stitches when Mr Healey was described as “crafty with money” and Mr Matthews said: “Even after he died, the funeral director came back with £30 he had stuffed in his jim jams.”

George Broadhurst, a friend of more than 55 years, received a round of applause after he sang a capella Is It Really Over by Jim Reeves. And the service heard that “many saw Dia as a father figure”. Mr Matthews said: “His is truly the loss of one of Barrow's finest.”

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