SNOOKER stars, including Ronnie O'Sullivan, Steve Davis and Jimmy White joined relatives, friends and hundreds of members of the public in Leeds for the funeral of Paul Hunter.
Queues began forming outside Leeds Parish Church up to two hours before the service for the 27-year-old rising star of the sport, who lost his battle with cancer in Kirkwood Hospice, Dalton, last week.
Other members of the public lined the street outside the church as snooker stars past and present joined the crowds waiting to go in.
Jimmy White was among the first of the players to arrive, with those following forming a roll-call of the famous names of the sport.
John Virgo, Willie Thorne and Steve Davis chatted with other mourners as Peter Ebdon, Ken Doherty, Shaun Murphy and Ronnie O'Sullivan were among the many others who filed into the church.
Hunter's coffin was carried into church by six of his closest friends - including two from Huddersfield.
Amateur snooker players Mohammed Naeem and Kuldesh Johal played alongside Hunter at the Syngenta Sports Club, and they became extremely close friends. Both were pall bearers.
Naeem said: "Paul wrote down the names of his pall bearers before he died. How difficult must that have been?
"I met Paul through snooker but we became best friends and I travelled the world with him. We did everything that best mates do.
"He was a great sportsman and a wonderful man.
"The service was very emotional but so memorable. I felt so proud that I was able to carry his coffin to and from the service, with Kuldesh.
"It was a tremendous, very moving honour. There were so many from the snooker world but so many more ordinary members of the public. It was an honour to be there."
Hunter, who lived in Batley, was a regular player at the Syngenta Club and practised there for hours before his many successful tournaments.
Speaking outside the church, fans' favourite Willie Thorne said: "I'm deeply saddened. He was 27 years of age, having won three Masters titles. He's just going to be so sadly missed.
"He had a great personality, so you never knew whether he had won or lost. I admired the kid so much, he battled so very hard these last two or three years."
Thorne, who is bald, recalled how Hunter used to say he did not mind the chemotherapy "as long as I don't end up looking like Willie Thorne".
Also speaking outside the church, former world champion Dennis Taylor said: "Paul just stood out a mile.
"He was just so good for our game. It's just a dreadfully sad loss. He would have certainly been a world champion, that's for sure."
Hunter, who was known as the "Beckham of the baize", leaves his wife Lindsey and 10-month-old daughter Evie.