Friends say emotional goodbye to Dalbagh Singh Malhi
HUNDREDS of mourners gathered to say farewell to a much-loved character with a big heart.
People packed into Carmountside Crematorium, Carmountside, on Saturday, for a traditional Sikh funeral for Dalbagh Singh Malhi, known as Bugsy.
The 29-year-old died on May 13 after he was stabbed in Wellfield Road, Bentilee.
Many mourners had to stand outside as so many turned up for the service and scores more attended the Sikh temple in Liverpool Road, Stoke, afterwards.
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Mr Malhi's dad, Swaran Singh Malhi, aged 65, said: "My son spread a lot of love.
"He had friendships with people from all walks of life and all communities, there were English, Pakistani and West Indian people alongside the Sikh community at the funeral.
"And the numbers of people who attended reflect the measure of affection and love that he shared.
"People wanted to come to pay their last respects to my son and I cannot repay them for that. He was in the prime of his life when it was cut short."
Mr Malhi, who lives in High Lane, Burslem and runs the Booze Bargains Extra off-licence, in Beverley Drive, Bentilee, said it was a comfort and support to his whole family to know how much his son was loved and highly thought of he was.
He added: "My son had a great big heart, he stood out from the crowd.
"He was sent off dressed as a prince in his coffin, ready for his final journey.
"He was a unique person a total one-off and so many people loved him like a brother.
"I want to thank everyone who attended the funeral and say how grateful I am to the police and the funeral directors.
"He had a tremendously full but short life, he was so energetic and hard working."
The funeral followed a candlelit vigil last week where hundreds of friends and relatives released Chinese lanterns into the sky in memory of Mr Malhi, near the place where he died.
His eldest brother Diljeet Singh Malhi, aged 43, known as Dell, said: "We loved my brother as family but to know that he had such an impact on so many different people is remarkable.
"He helped people all the time – how often can we say we do that in day to day life, but my brother really did.
"My family have had messages and phone calls of support from Canada and India, and my brother's story has appeared on a Sikh television channel and in a newspaper in the Punjab region.
"It's not sunk in that he has gone, I don't know if it ever will. He had great friendships with so many people in Bentilee and I know we will always remember him."
Lee Shaw, aged 33, of Community Drive, Smallthorne, has been charged with Mr Mahli's murder.
He has been remanded in custody until his next court appearance in July. Six others arrested in the days following the death have now been released from bail without charge.