‘Fitting closure’ for football legend Jimmy Hill

Bryony and Jimmy Hill, a photo from the recently published book 'My Gentleman Jim'
Bryony and Jimmy Hill, a photo from the recently published book 'My Gentleman Jim'

Jimmy Hill’s widow spoke from Sussex last night ahead of a memorial service in his honour in Coventry tomorrow (Friday February 12).

Bryony Hill will be joined by family, friends and colleagues at Coventry Cathedral to commemorate the football star’s life in the city he loved.

All attendees will wear sky blue in deference to Jimmy’s choice of colour for the Coventry team.

Bryony said: “I think it’s going to be overwhelming. It’ll be real people who worked with him, played with him, knew him from charity work, family, friends.

“It’s going to be a very very emotionally charged day — but it’s not going to be grim. It’s not going to be sober and religious.”

Music that Jimmy loved will be played, including performances from the Jaguar Land Rover Brass Band, a string quartet, and Les Misérables singer Dave Willetts.

‘It’ll be lovely, it’ll be closure and a fitting one,” said Bryony.

“He was so happy in Coventry, had so many happy years with the club and everything, his heart really was in Coventry.”

“I’ve got a little urn of his ashes, just a little one, that I’m going to hopefully scatter in the memorial garden, a little bit of Jimmy.”

The rest of Jimmy’s ashes will be scattered over a wildflower garden Bryony is planting at their home in Hurstpierpoint.

The couple met in 1976 when Bryony responded to a newspaper advert for a ‘sports personality with a dog’ seeking a PA.

They had been married 17 years when Jimmy was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

The TV star spent his last years in full-time care, and passed away peacefully with Bryony by his side on December 19 last year.

Famous for his success playing for Fulham, Jimmy also created the rule of awarding three points for a win and removed the maximum wage cap for professional footballers.

“He’s made more of an impact on football I think, not just nationally but internationally, than any other footballer altogether,” Bryony explained.

For Bryony and all who knew him, Jimmy’s legacy is more personal. Bryony described him as a very kind man, who could never say no.

The service will be viewable on BBC iPlayer after it is broadcast in the Midlands.

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