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Final send-off for ‘Big Wilf’

Pals cheer as devoted Arsenal fan’s coffin is carried past the old Highbury stadium

19 March, 2021

Flowers for William Earls – known as ‘Big Wilf’ – who was a huge Arsenal fan

FRIENDS clapped and cheered as a horse and carriage carried the coffin of a much-loved Arsenal fan past the old Highbury stadium to his final resting place.

The funeral cortege was for William Earls – known as ‘Big Wilf’ to his friends – after he died from Covid last month.

On Saturday he was taken from the family home in the Hilldrop estate, Holloway, up Seven Sisters Road, on to Blackstock Road and down Avenell Road in front of the East stand where he held a season ticket.

His daughter Samantha Earls said: “As we went down Avenell Road, that’s where his friends were and they clapped and cheered dads name as we passed the East Upper.

“It was emotional and overwhelming and fitting.”

William ‘Big Wilf’ Earls

Mr Earls’ funeral was held in Islington and St Pancras Cemetery in East Finchley.

Two songs were played at the service in his memory, Don’t Stop by Fleetwood Mac and Baba O’Riley by The Who.

“Dad loved The Who and it was a perfect final song,” Ms Earls said. “It was emotional but to be honest we’re struggling to accept he’s gone. It’s really hard. Everyone said he we did him proud though.”

Mr Earls, 60, grew up around Upper Holloway and attended St Mark’s Primary School and Tollington Park secondary school.

He worked in the post office and on the roads with Ringway among other jobs but his passion was the Arsenal.

He organised away day coaches for scores of fans during the 1980s.

He died at the Royal Free hospital in February.

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