Village mourns ‘much-loved’ stab victim

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A COMMUNITY turned out in force for the funeral of stab victim Philip Smith.

The tight-knit village of Thurnscoe was stunned by the tragic events of January 28 that resulted in the death of the 36-year old.

Last Friday, family members followed the seven-foot coffin as it processed from the family home on Stotfold Drive to St Helen’s Church on High Street.

The day began and ended peacefully. A packed church shared a service described by vicar Father Carl Schaefer as a “loving tribute in poetry and music to a man who was clearly much loved.” It was followed by interment at Thurnscoe cemetery then a wake at the Ship Working Men’s Club.

Philip’s bereft partner Nicola Lovell planned the service that included heartfelt poems written by herself and by one of Philip’s sisters, Mandy Holmes. These were interspersed with pop classics from such as Aerosmith, Bruno Mars, Westlife and Rod Stewart.

Family travelled from across the country for the occasion. Personalised service sheets sported Philip’s photograph, and carried a special message of thanks from his mum Jackie, all his siblings and Nicola on the back. Funeral arrangements were by Frank Hoyland Funeral Directors.

“It was a tragic death but at the funeral the family were surrounded by love,” said Father Schaefer. “If proof were needed that communities still exist then this was it. The community is hurt and shocked, but tragedy such as this strengthen bonds and build communities. People support each other.”

There was a host of floral tributes to the Manchester United fan. Many carried emotional messages from family and friends. One white tribute, from his brothers and sisters was to “R Phil”, while another was simply to ‘Cuz’. A massive red and white floral motorbike marked his passion for quad and bike riding.

n A Thurnscoe man has been charged with Philip Smith’s murder. Gary McKeown, 36, of Church Street will appear at Sheffield Crown Court again next month. The only details given by police are that an altercation took place at about 4.30pm on January 28, at Church Street.

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