RIP Billy - the man with the "million dollar smile"

Thousands of people turned out to say goodbye to Billy Livesley, the man with the “million dollar smile”.

Platt Bridge came to a standstill on Monday afternoon as his loved ones gathered to give the 21-year-old a massive send-off.

A mourner at Billy's funeral

A mourner at Billy's funeral

Roads were closed as a huge procession moved along Liverpool Road to St Nathaniel’s Church, led by many quad bikes and motorbikes with their engines revving.

Members of Billy’s family walked behind them, followed by white limousines and a horse-drawn carriage with the coffin.

There were blue and white floral tributes, in honour of Billy’s support for Everton FC, and the white horses were draped with material bearing the club’s emblem.

The procession continued with thousands of people on foot, many wearing royal blue to remember the father-to-be.

Billy's coffin is carried into church

Billy's coffin is carried into church

They gathered outside the church as Dance With My Father was played.

With so many people wishing to say goodbye to Billy, the church was packed and speakers relayed the service to the hundreds of people standing outside on Church Road.

The service was led by the Reverend David Brooke and the Reverend Ann Stein.

Mr Brooke said it was an “honour” to meet Billy’s family and encouraged his loved ones to keep sharing stories about him to keep his memory alive.

Mourners at Billy's funeral

Mourners at Billy's funeral

There were moving tributes to Billy, an expectant father described as having a “heart of gold”.

Mourners heard about his love of motorbikes, football and giving nicknames to people.

Billy’s father Scott Livesley paid tribute to his son, saying: “My boy with the million dollar smile. Love you always.”

His brother Wez Mitchell said: “He wasn’t just a brother to me, he was my best mate. Even though he was younger than me, I always looked up to him.”

Mourners line the streets outside the church

Mourners line the streets outside the church

He said Billy was “a proper wind-up merchant”, who always made people laugh and there was never a dull moment with him.

Other speakers said his “smile lit Platt Bridge up” and he was “tough as concrete” with “a heart of gold”.

Ms Stein spoke about how Billy loved football as a child and had trials for Manchester City, before turning to rugby and playing for Rose Bridge.

He loved motorbikes, quad bikes and anything with an engine, as well as fishing, hunting and Everton FC.

As he got older, he started drinking beer and was the “life and soul of the party”, she said.

Billy always had a gadget in his hand, a nickname for everyone and a “smile that would light up the room”.

Ms Stein said Billy loved his brothers and sisters, his nephew and niece, and was excited to be expecting a baby with girlfriend Leah.

The service featured prayers, readings and songs, including Abide With Me and I Will Always Love You.

It ended with Puff Daddy’s I’ll Be Missing You.

Afterwards, the procession reassembled on Church Road and Liverpool Road, before setting off for Westwood Cemetery in Ince for interment.

Billy, from Platt Bridge, died in hospital on Saturday, December 29. He had been found seriously injured on Bickershaw Lane, Abram the previous day.

There was a massive outpouring of grief from the community, with many people leaving balloons, flowers and other tributes at a makeshift shrine on Bickershaw Lane.

Thousands of pounds was raised for the funeral and to support his pregnant girlfriend, with many people making donations and hundreds attending a weekend of sporting events to mark what would have been Billy’s 22nd birthday last month.

There was a request for family flowers only at the funeral, with any further donations going to Billy’s unborn baby.

Police launched an investigation into Billy’s death and Peter Connor, 31, of no fixed address, and Myles Connors, 26, of Layton Street Caravan Park, Layton Road, Preston, were both charged with murder. Several people remain on police bail as the investigation continues.