Sports stars bid farewell to David

David Oates
David Oates
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TANGERINE was the colour of choice at the funeral service of BBC sports commentator David Oates, a lifelong and loyal Blackpool Football Club supporter, who died, aged 50.

The congregation at St Mary’s Church, Ealing was packed to capacity as family, friends and colleagues of the popular broadcaster gathered for the service.

Many of the congregation wore tangerine scarves at the service, at which Jimmy Armfield, the former Blackpool and England captain, represented the Bloomfield Road club.

Mr Armfield had known Mr Oates since he was a small boy and later worked alongside him at BBC Radio Five Live.

And the Seasiders legend gave one of the readings and glimpsing so much tangerine in the church was moved to joke to the people crammed in the church: “I never thought there were so many Blackpool supporters in Ealing!”

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson sent a video tribute to be relayed at the proceedings.

He had many dealings with Mr Oates when the late soccer and rugby league commentator worked for BBC Radio Manchester.

Almost the entire BBC sports-room attended.

Commentator John Murray was another speaker at service, which was also attended by presenter Clare Balding and commentators Mike Ingham, Jonathan Pearce, Simon Brotherton and Steve Wilson.

As the coffin left the church, the music played was the Blackpool FC anthem, Dave Clark Five number ‘Glad All Other’.

The song is played whenever Mr Oates’ beloved Blackpool score a goal at Bloomfield Road, and the congregation clapped to the music.

Mr Oates attended his first Blackpool match at the age of seven and never lost his affinity for the club.

He attended Thames Road Junior School and as a youngster played at Hampton Road and Fishers Field pitches.

The Seasiders held a minute’s applause in Mr Oates’ honour before their weekend game with Millwall.

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