HUNDREDS of mourners said a final farewell to a prize fighter on Valentine's Day as he was laid to rest in the church where he was due to marry later this year.
Victor Docherty, 35, a former amateur boxer, fell to his death from a window at the Hotel Angela in Hammersmith, London, on Sunday 4 February.
He was due to marry his fiancee Dawn Huggard, 28, of Roundhill View, Rising Bridge, at Baxenden St John's Church on 26 August.
Instead, more than 500 mourners packed the church for his funeral on Wednesday.
It was standing room as people flocked to pay their respects to Victor, who was known as Boom Boom from his boxing days.
The Vicar, the Rev Steve Lees, said it was fitting Dawn had met Victor on Good Friday last year, as their relationship represented his hope and resurrection.
He said Victor, who grew up in Cheetham Hill and Blackley in Manchester, had changed his life and turned things around since meeting his soulmate Dawn and becoming "Daddy Vic'' to her two children Hayden, 10, and three-year-old Libby. He also had a 13-year-old son Jordan from a previous relationship.
Mr Lees described Victor, who at one time ranked third in his weight division in England, as the life and soul of the party.
He asked that he be remembered with the same pleasure with which he had lived his life.
Victor's elder sister Michelle spoke about her brother as a man who refused to be ignored, not just because of his height but also his presence. She said despite his skill as a boxer he was regarded by those who knew him as a sensitive and caring man.
Hymns included Praise My Soul the King of Heaven, Give me Oil in My Lamp, and Amazing Grace.
The coffin was carried out into the graveyard by six pallbearers to the sounds of his and Dawn's favourite song, Labi Siffre's Something Inside So Strong.
Mourners then gathered around the graveside, where they scattered single stems of red roses on his coffin, as well as a football shirt, from Manchester City, his favourite team.