The centre of Totton came to a standstill momentarily on Tuesday as crowds turned out to say farewell to a well-known character.

Around 450 mourners gathered inside and outside St Theresa’s Church in the centre of the town for the funeral of Paul ‘Dixie’ Dean.

Workmates, lifelong friends from Testwood School and family said their goodbyes at the packed church while many more stood outside in rain to applaud the popular character in an emotional farewell.

Hundreds of people then attended the wake at the Saxon Inn at Calmore where Paul, aged 59 and a big Saints fan, was suddenly taken ill in February before passing away at Southampton General Hospital ten days later.

Close friend John Walsh said: “Dixie was one of the people that you just take to and he is going to be missed greatly by so many.”