FINAL goodbyes were said to dedicated dad Paul Stroud yesterday as friends and family remembered a loving husband, son and companion – with a mischievous streak.
It was standing room only at Gloucester Crematorium as hundreds turned out to pay their respects to the 31-year-old, who died this month after he was diagnosed with cancer in May.
Those who spoke at the service were not short of tales of adventure to share but it was his dedication to wife Vikki, 25, and their young children Harry, four, and Ella, 18 months, which shone through all the tributes.
Paul's dad Tim said: "He was born on January 30 1981 and announced his arrival by interrupting my favourite TV programme, Hill Street Blues. It was also the worst night's weather we'd seen in years; I drove to the hospital with my head out of the window because of the fog.
"I knew from that moment he was going to be my best mate but that he was going to be someone always doing things his own way."
Aged four, Paul, or 'Stroudy' as we was also known, turned the power back on in the family home while his dad was working on the circuits.
"I got 240 volts, was thrown across the room and it was that day that I introduced Paul to some colourful language," he said.
There was no doubt from that day on what Paul, from Churchdown, would become - an electrician.
Tim added: "He faced his fight with great courage. We are allowed to cry today but not for long, because it's not what he wanted."
His love for his family was rivalled only by his passion for Gloucester Rugby. Many mourners at the funeral, which Paul himself had organised, wore Cherry and Whites shirts.
Some of his favourite music was played too, including He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother by The Hollies, Jerusalem and Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.
A trust fund has been set up for Harry and Ella, who also had Aerosmith's I Don't Want to Miss a Thing played in their dedication.