Family's farewell to dad who died after being found on bench with serious head injuries
A 39-YEAR-OLD who was found unconscious with serious head injuries has been remembered as a loving father with a great sense of humour.
Mourners packed out Bradwell Crematorium to remember the life of Mark Hall, from Harris Street, Penkhull.
The popular chef and father-of-three died 10 days after being found on a bench in Cornwallis Street, Stoke, on August 26.
His coffin, decorated with two teddies from his youngest children, was carried in to the sound of David Gray's The Other Side.
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Captain John Stark, of the Stoke-on-Trent Salvation Army, who led the service, said: "We are left still not understanding why this had to happen, but we have a sense of relief that he is at rest and no longer in pain."
Mark had lived in Stoke-on-Trent since he was a child after moving from Middlesbrough with his parents Sandra and Alan.
Friends reminisced how Mark had developed a passion for cooking from a young age and went on to study catering at college.
He worked at the Moat House Hotel, in Etruria, as head chef before moving on to Alton Towers and The Church Bar and Restaurant, in Hanley.
Captain Stark said of the former Thistley Hough High School pupil: "Mark was nicknamed Marmite in the kitchen because he would always play practical jokes and try to wind people up. He was always surrounded by lots of laughter." Mark was dad to Emily, aged 10, Rio, aged eight, and four-year-old Paris-Marie.
His ex-wife Zoe Hall, mum to Rio and Paris-Marie, gave a moving speech which left many in tears.
She said: "It seems unfair and almost unreal that we are all here today.
"Mark loved to laugh and would see the funny side in everything.
"We had some fantastic times together with the children when they were younger, and throughout it all we remained friends.
"I made a promise to Mark in his final hours to look after Sandra and his children.
"I will make sure he lives on in Paris and Rio and most of all I would like to thank him for our beautiful children."
Mark never regained consciousness after he was found on the bench and taken to the University Hospital of North Staffordshire.
After undergoing brain surgery, doctors told the devastated family there was nothing more they could do and his life-support machine was switched off.
No hymns were sang at the service but instead the family chose to play My Way by Frank Sinatra "because Mark would often sing it as he cleaned down the kitchen at the end of a busy shift".
And in tribute to his good nature he service ended with Always Look On The Bright Side of Life.