THE number four shirt worn by Hibs starlet David Paul, who died aged 18, has been retired for the season as several hundred mourners gathered for his funeral.
David, who played for the Easter Road club’s under 20s, died in his sleep at his home in Fairmilehead on December 22.
His funeral was held at St Andrew’s and St George’s West Church in George Street yesterday, with manager Terry Butcher and former boss Pat Fenlon among those paying their respects.
The Proclaimers anthem Sunshine on Leith – synonymous with the club – was played during the service.
The Hibs under 20s beat St Mirren 2-1 the previous evening, and James McDonaugh, the club’s head of academy coaching, said David’s shirt number would not be used again during the current campaign as a mark of respect.
Mr McDonaugh was among the speakers at the funeral alongside David’s father, Gordon, and the teenager’s former headmaster at George Watson’s College, Gareth Edwards.
Mr Edwards told mourners: “I cannot think of a better way to sum up David the schoolboy than to say that he had immense width and depth to him and it has been a privilege for George Watson’s College to have had him as a member of our community.”
The Hibs first team and David’s under 20s team-mates joined family and friends at the service. Chairman Rod Petrie, owner Sir Tom Farmer and former assistant manager Jimmy Nicholl were also in attendance.
Club captain Liam Craig paid tribute to David on Twitter. He wrote: “An emotional but lovely service today for a young man taken from us far too soon. Rest In Peace David Paul, you will never be forgotten.”
The club’s Twitter account posted a smiling photo of David over the legend “Never Forgotten”. Their message read: “Today we celebrated the extraordinary life of David Paul.”
David died on the same day as 13-year-old former Hearts youngster Jamie Skinner, who collapsed while playing for Tynecastle.