THE funeral of Cheshire FA president Alan Burbidge takes place today.

Mr Burbidge, who was 73, died in Leighton Hospital after a short illness on Tuesday last week and leaves a wife, Barbara, two daughters and two granddaughters.

Only three weeks earlier, Mr Burbidge had shared the spotlight with FA chief executive Mark Palios and chairman Geoff Thompson at the official opening of Cheshire's new HQ at Moss Farm.

He spoke entertainingly for 15 minutes, but it was to be his last public appearance. He was taken ill within days.

Cheshire's chief executive Maureen Dun-ford said: 'What can you say about a man who has done so much?

'He was more than a colleague, he was a friend. Our new headquarters meant so much to him and what he said and how he spoke on the day will be the way many people remember him.'

Mr Burbidge told guests a new base for Cheshire football had been his ambition for 25 years. 'We thought this day would never come. This is our big moment,' he said.

Mr Burbidge gave long and distinguished service to football, from being a referee and Football League linesman in his younger days to his service with the County FA, which he joined in 1965.

As well as sitting on a variety of committees, he held at various times the three main posts of chairmanship, presidency and representative to the English FA.

At Soho Square, Mr Burbidge was chairman of the National League System Committee, overseeing the restructuring of the non-league game which comes into effect next year, and was vice-chairman of the FA Cup committee. Mr Burbidge presented the trophy in Cardiff two years ago, one of the proudest moments of his career.

An open service is at St John's Church in his home village of Norley at 2.15pm, followed by refreshments at Cheshire FA's new headquarters at Moss Farm.

Donations to Cancer Research or the Urology Unit, Leighton, can be made care of Maureen Dunford at Cheshire FA.