More than 900 at funeral of former Saints chairman Leon Barwell

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More than 900 people filled All Saints Church in Northampton town centre today for the funeral of former Saints’ chairman Leon Barwell.

This morning’s service included tributes and readings by Leon’s sons Henry and Ben, father Keith and sister Ella.

The funeral of Leon Barwell at All Saints Church, Northampton.

The funeral of Leon Barwell at All Saints Church, Northampton.

Friend Graham Starmer and Saints coach Jim Mallinder also paid tribute to the 46-year-old who died on Friday, June 14.

The service was attended by a number of past and present Saints players including captain Dylan Hartley, Chris Ashton and Jon Sleightholme.

Tony Hewitt, Saints acting chairman, said it was a “very sad day” for the club but the service had been a fitting tribute to Leon.

He said: “The large turnout reflects the massive amount of support Leon had.

The funeral of Leon Barwell at All Saints Church, Northampton.

The funeral of Leon Barwell at All Saints Church, Northampton.

“Everyone wants to continue his legacy and we want to continue the work he has been carrying out for the last 18 months.

“There were lots of tributes during the service with people speaking from the heart and it was a moving moment when the choir sang When The Saints Go Marching In.”

Players past and present were there, including Ben Foden, Dylan Hartley, Paul Diggin and Jon Sleightholme.

Allan Robson, Northampton Saints chief executive said Leon would be “sadly missed” by everyone at the club.

The funeral of Leon Barwell at All Saints Church, Northampton.

The funeral of Leon Barwell at All Saints Church, Northampton.

He said: “Leon was a quiet man and did not push himself forward but he was extremely supportive in his role and always on hand to offer some advice.

“A lot of people have said ‘let’s go and win the championship next season for Leon’ as nothing would have given him more pleasure than that.

Councillor David Mackintosh, leader of Northampton Borough Council, said: “It was a great turnout and a fitting tribute to a great man.

“I’m pleased that so many people from the town came out to pay their respects.”

The Barwell family have said they have been “deeply touched” by the thousands of condolence messages sent through to the club and to them directly.

The Northampton Saints offices will be closed today as a mark of respect.