THERE was standing room only at Kingsdown Crematorium yesterday as friends and family turned out to say goodbye to a much-loved friend and father.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house by the time the curtain drew behind Gary Savory’s coffin, and mourners filed out to a blast of his favourite reggae music.

The 53-year-old lost his battle with stomach cancer earlier this month, the day after his only daughter Hayley’s 30th birthday, and less than two months after walking her down the aisle on her wedding day.

In a letter read out to the congregation by the minister, Hayley said: “When you came back into my life it was as though you had never left. I know how you never wanted to leave us again, and now you’re gone it doesn’t seem real, it’s not fair.

“Love you forever.”

The ceremony was led by David Gray, the same minister who married Hayley and her husband, Will Tsang, in January, and he said it was an honour to be able to officiate at his funeral.

The 50-year-old said: “Every time that Gary forgot someone’s name or didn’t know it, he would just call him Dave, like Trigger in Only Fools and Horses. It’s lucky for him then that I’m a Dave, and the funeral director is a Dave. I think that would have made it easier for him.

“The love of a child is like a ray of sunshine in a miserable world. And that is what brings us to Gary. Gary the husband, Gary the father, Gary the child.”

Gary’s last words were to wish Hayley a happy birthday.

The mum-of-four from Penhill said: “The last thing he said was ‘happy birthday Lou, I love you’, and that was the last thing he said.

“I think he held on to be at my birthday and then he didn’t want to go on my birthday, so he passed the day after.

“It was my 30th birthday the day before and I was staying with my mum that night because we were told that he didn’t have long. I got a call from my partner asking me to come home and look after the kids because they weren’t very well. So I came home and he was gone within the hour.

“I think things happen for a reason – it meant that mum and dad were on their own and had that time together.”

Gary was diagnosed less than six months ago with the terminal disease which finally took his life.

When he quickly began to deteriorate in November last year, Hayley decided it was time to tie the knot with her partner of seven years so that her dad could give her away.

Hayley only gave herself four weeks to organise everything for the big day, and had only planned for a simple civil service ceremony, but after her friend posted a message on Facebook hundreds of people around Swindon rallied together to make her wedding extra special.

Gary also leaves behind wife Nicola, sons Craig and Wayne and grandchildren Max, Jay, Millie-Mai, Mitch, Ashleigh, Liam and Annabelle.