A procession of limousines followed Michael ‘Mixie’ Walsh as he was taken on one last journey through the streets of Blackpool.
Hundreds of people gathered to say their final farewells to the 84-year-old, whose body was taken from The Ardwick pub in Foxhall Road to St Kentigern’s Church in Newton Drive for a funeral service at noon yesterday.
Mr Walsh, who once famously saw off the Kray twins and was described as a ‘true gentleman’ by his family, died on October 9 following a battle with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Greg Barber, 78, wore a black trilby hat given to him by Mr Walsh for the service, which was followed by a committal at Carleton Crematorium.
He said: “There are a lot of people here today because of his name and because he was such a good man.
“He was a top man and everybody realised that. We had a good friendship.”
Although he said there are some ‘silly’ stories about Mr Walsh told throughout the town, Mr Barber said his reputation as Blackpool’s ‘governor’ was well known and had been earned.
The Scotsman said: “He was a friend of everybody unless you were a bad man. He cleaned this town up.
“The Krays were only two. [Scottish gangster] Arthur Thompson was the governor in Glasgow and he wanted to take over Blackpool as well, and he was told to get out.
“Mixie was the governor and he looked after Blackpool.”
Former professional boxer Larry Porks travelled up from Stoke to say a final farewell to his friend of 70 years.
The 85-year-old said the pair first met in borstal as teenagers before later serving their national service together in Egypt.
He said: “He was a right hard man but a good man and a gent with his friends.
“He was not very big but any liberties and he was there to stop it. He was the daddy in Borstal. He was only 17 but he was still the boss.
“He had a heart of gold. I just can’t speak highly enough of him.”
Mr Porks said it was a coincidence the pair met up again in Egypt in the late 1940s, while they were both serving with the Royal Army Service Corps (RASC).
But he said a tough military lifestyle did not change Mr Walsh: “You could not tame him. He was just Mixie.
“Afterwards, we kept in touch and I used to come up to Blackpool. We were best friends and we were like brothers.
Karen Thompson, 52, said: “I was only 18 or 19 when I met him. When I first saw him I though, ‘Oh, God’, but within seconds he had me laughing.
“You would not like to be on the wrong side of him but he was very fair.”
Daughter-in-law Charley Walsh said: “He was a legend and the last of his kind.”