Blackpool will say an emotional goodbye to Jimmy Armfield today.
The sporting legend and broadcasting icon’s funeral cortege will arrive at Bloomfield Road, where fans are expected to gather, at noon, before a private service at St Peter’s Church in Lytham Road, South Shore, around half an hour later.
Mr Armfield died at Trinity Hospice in Bispham in the early hours of Monday, January 22, after a long fight with cancer. He was 82.
The humble hero captained Blackpool – to this day remaining their record appearance holder – and England, forming part of the World Cup winning squad in 1966.
He later trained as a journalist at The Gazette, before forging a successful career as a BBC broadcaster.
Outside of work he was a devoted family man, dear friend, and dedicated church-goer – playing the organ and acting as churchwarden and treasurer at St Peter’s, where his family and friends will say their farewells later today.
The service will be broadcast on BBC Radio Lancashire, and played over the PA system at Bloomfield Road, where the Armfield Stand will be open for fans to pay their respects which will be aired on The Gazette’s Facebook Live page.
They are asked to sit at the bottom of the stand first, so the lettering can be kept clear. The west ‘Matthews’ stand will be opened if needed, the club said yesterday.
The cortege will enter the stadium in the north-east corner before driving down the side of the pitch and pausing beside the Armfield stand. It will then leave through the south-east corner. The cortege will also stop at Mr Armfield’s statue in Bloomfield Road. Although the funeral service will be a private affair, a memorial service will be arranged ‘for all those who loved Mr Armfield to celebrate his life’, funeral director Helen Ashmore said last week.
Mr Armfield’s cortege will pause in front of the Armfield Stand at Bloomfield Road ahead of his funeral today
Gifts could be Jimmy’s legacy
The service will be followed by a private committal. Though family flowers only have been requested, donations in Jimmy’s memory can be made to Trinity Hospice, which cared for him during his final days, and where he was president. Around £1,000 was donated to the Bispham hospice in the days following Jimmy’s death. And a further £4,855 was collected by volunteers last month, when fans gathered inside Bloomfield Road to see Blackpool manager Gary Bowyer join his Charlton counterpart Karl Robinson laying wreaths in front of the Armfield stand. Mr Bowyer also joined supporters at Jimmy’s statue.