HUNDREDS of people turned out yesterday to pay their final respects to popular Southampton businessman Billy Collins who has died of cancer aged 53.

The funeral service at St Edmunds RC Church at The Avenue was attended by throngs of family members and well-wishers who knew Mr Collins through his career as the boss of successful lorry component export business.

Originally from Ballinasloe in County Galway, Ireland, the father-of-nine was a well-known figure among the South's Irish community.

Mr Collins, who helped construct his own house in Shop Lane, Sholing, was a fan of gaelic sports and a keen singer, often taking the stage to perform.

Business contacts from around the world sent their condolences to his family, including messages from as far afield as the USA and Korea.

Mr Collins is survived by wife Maggie, six sons, three daughters and seven grandchildren.

The funeral was followed by burial at Hollybrook Cemetery.

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