Stars attend Wilson funeral.
Fred Attewill and agencies
Monday August 20, 2007
Mourners carry the coffin of Tony Wilson at his funeral.
Friends and family of Tony Wilson, the legendary Manchester music impresario and founder of the Hacienda club, gathered today to pay their respects at his funeral.
Mourners included musicians from famous bands that he had made famous as co-founder of Factory Records in the 1980s.
The Happy Mondays frontman Shaun Ryder and New Order's Peter Hook and Stephen Morris were among those arriving at St Mary's Roman Catholic church in Manchester city centre to say farewell to the man dubbed "Mr Manchester".
Richard Madeley and Judy Finnegan, with whom he worked at Granada Television in the 1970s, also attended the private service.
Members of the public gathered outside to pay a silent tribute.
The Salford-born journalist, a leading light in the "Madchester" scene of the late 1980s and early 1990s, died on August 10 from a heart attack, aged 57. He had also been receiving treatment for kidney cancer.
Through Factory Records, Wilson produced bands including Happy Mondays, Joy Division and James, and he is credited with helping to kickstart the cultural revival of Manchester.
Steve Coogan, who played Wilson in the 2002 film 24 Hour Party People, a semi-fictional account of his life, paid a warm tribute to him today.
"I'm working in Hawaii right now. There's a warm breeze, the sun is shining and the sea is turquoise, but I wish I was in Manchester and I wish it was raining," he told the Manchester Evening News.
"It should rain, because today the older brother for a whole generation of creative, bold, innovative people is gone."
During the past year Wilson was in the news as the NHS refused to pay for a £3,500-a-month drug that doctors had recommended after chemotherapy failed to beat his cancer.
Members of the Happy Mondays and other acts he had supported helped to pay for the treatment.
Educated at Cambridge, Wilson began to make history in the late 1970s when he championed punk while hosting Granada TV's regional music show So it Goes, showcasing the Sex Pistols among others.
By 1978 he had founded Factory Records and taken on Joy Division, who later became New Order. The label built up a cult following and at the end of the 80s found itself the centre of a youth culture phenomenon.
The Hacienda, the iconic club largely financed by the label and founded by Wilson, became a hub of the burgeoning dance music scene.
Paul Ryder, a guitarist with Happy Mondays, said: "I would still be working at the post office if it wasn't for Tony. He was the one that gave working kids like me and Shaun their chance."
Guardian Unlimited © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007