Former Stereophonics drummer Stuart Cable laid to rest
Rock star Stuart Cable was laid to rest today to the raucous sound of high decibel heavy metal.
Up to 5,000 fans brought Aberdare, south Wales, to a standstill as they turned out in force to pay homage to a local boy.
Family and friends packed into St Elvan's Church, in the centre of the valley town, for what was termed a "celebration" of Cable's life.
The former Stereophonics drummer died two weeks ago today at his home in the nearby village of Llwydcoed.
The results of toxicology tests, which may give an insight into the cause of Cable's death, are still awaited by the police.
As an acknowledged fan of the rock and roll lifestyle Cable once predicted to friends that he would never live to see the age of 40.
When he died earlier this month after celebrating his landmark 40th birthday he was widely seen as having put his wild years behind him.
Tributes, praise and anecdotes poured forth today as his celebration service was relayed to the public via loud speakers.
Hundreds of friends packed out the town centre church while awaiting Cable's final arrival.
Among them were Stereophonics front man Kelly Jones, Cable's childhood friend, comedian Rob Brydon, actor Rhys Ifans and veteran Welsh comic Max Boyce.
Ear splitting music was played live inside the church by a favourite band of Cable's called High Voltage.
The band was among a handful of guests, which included a male voice choir, invited to perform and pay tribute.
Earlier the coffin carrying the father of one arrived by horse-drawn hearse to general applause from well-wishers.
Four black Welsh cobs with black plumes on their head were led into the church yard where the dark wood coffin, decorated with a silver lightning bolt, was unloaded.
Gwyn Davies, long-time friend, former neighbour and one-time judo instructor to Cable, paid tribute and made jokes at the service.
"I would like to say that he was my best friend but he was many people's best friend," he said.
"People are not here today because of his celebrity they are here because they want to say goodbye to a nice, normal bloke."
He also joked about Cable's singing voice: "For those of you unlucky enough to hear him sing I can honestly say that drumming was the right choice."
He said that Cable had been a proud Welshman who had tried to learn the Welsh language but had spent more time making people laugh in the classes he attended.
Among the phrases he did learn was the Welsh translation of baked beans.
Paul Cable, his older brother, concluded the service by calling for the church bells to ring out.
"My brother had a bell in every tooth and he is going out with eight bells ringing like the clappers," he said.
The coffin was then carried out to a waiting motorised hearse with glass sides to the sound of Back in Black, by AC/DC, played by High Voltage.
Kelly Jones, as he filed out between Rhys Ifans and Rob Brydon, said: "No one else could get a send-off like that.
"It's hard to walk out crying when they are playing Back in Black."
The hearse was then led away for a private service at Llwydcoed Crematorium.
Up to 30 leather-clad bikers with the Valley Commandos gang, with whom Cable used to regularly ride, were expected to escort the hearse over its brief final route.
Thousands of people waited for more than two hours under the hot sun to pay their last respects to Cable.
Many had met him only once but saw him as a local boy made good who had remained loyal to his south Wales valley roots.
Barbara Goodenough, 54, of Aberdare, said: "Stuart was at school with my oldest son and my other boys always followed the Stereophonics.
"I have got to be honest with you, this has been a terrible shock to all of the young people around here.
"It is a terrible, terrible tragedy, really sad, and has come as a big shock. He was such a lovely boy."
Jade Vaughan, 17, of Aberdare, said: "My father grew up with him in Cwmaman.
"I knew him as well. He was always really nice. He came to the local youth centre and he was really lively and funny. He was just brilliant.
"The Stereophonics were the soundtrack of my youth, that is true of a lot of people around here. He died very young and that's tragic."
Marian Morgan, 73, also of Aberdare, is sister-in-law to BBC Radio Wales broadcaster Roy Noble.
"I only met Stuart once when he was doing something professionally with Roy Noble, my brother-in-law.
"He was a very natural sort of person, very friendly, very down to earth and easygoing.
"I think that his death is a real tragedy because he had so much to live for, both professionally and for his family. He had it all."
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