The people of Manchester have paid their final respects to Piccadilly Rats frontman Ray Boddington who died last month.
Visiting the city centre spot where he gained somewhat of a cult following for one last time, the funeral procession paused for 30 minutes in Piccadilly Gardens so the people of Manchester could say their final goodbyes.
A portrait of the street performer was displayed at the back of the hearse taking Ray on his last trip.
In the drawing he is wearing his signature black sunglasses with the words I Love Manchester and 1940 – 2019 displayed, with red and white funeral flowers spelling out the word Dad.
And a sticker of the Manchester bee was lovingly placed on the side of his coffin.
Family, friends and members of the public gathered in Piccadilly to share messages and memories of Ray.
In an emotional statement posted on Facebook earlier today, Ray’s son Daniel remembered his dad with a touching tribute.
“So my dad gets buried at 1 o’ clock today at agecroft cemetery. I am taking him to piccadilly gardens at 12 till 12:30 so he can say goodbye, that’s what he’d want. People say he’s amazing, a legend – but he better than that. Words can’t describe what this guy means to me and has done for me. I miss you so much its unreal xxxxx”.
The procession then continued on its journey to Agecroft Cemetery where the funeral was held.
Ray was hit by a tram on High Street in Manchester city centre while on his way home after leaving a gig at the Northern Quarter’s Millstone Pub.
Following the incident, he was taken to Salford Royal hospital where he remained on life support for several days before doctors made the decision to withdraw it due to the extent of Ray’s injuries.
In true fighting spirit, Ray continued to breathe on his own but sadly passed away on 18th April surrounded by his family and friends.
The loss of Ray sent shockwaves across Manchester, with hundreds remembering his unique and quirky dancing and his love of entertaining.
Over the years, Ray appeared on both The X Factor and Judge Rinder, gaining a cult following here in Manchester.
In 2018 a campaign was started to get the Piccadilly Rats a slot at Heaton Park’s annual Parklife festival, which saw the city centre street performers take to the stage at last year’s festival. The group also performed at Kendal Calling.
One thing is for certain, Ray definitely loved Manchester – and Manchester loved Ray.