The wife of former Crystal Palace chairman Ron Noades has paid tribute to her husband following an emotional funeral service last week.
Hundreds of former colleagues from the world of football and beyond, friends and family attended the service at Surrey and Sussex Crematorium in Crawley last Thursday.
Mr Noades, 76, died on Christmas Eve after a battle with lung cancer.
Last Wednesday, on New Year’s Day, thousands of Palace fans held a minute’s applause for the former chairman before their game against Norwich City.
Novello Noades, speaking for the first time since the passing of her husband, said she felt extremely proud to see so many people at his funeral last week.
Former Palace heroes Ian Wright and Mark Bright gave an emotional tribute to their former boss at the service, whilst Steve Coppell was one of the pallbearers.
Other figures included Ken Bates, John Salako, Alan Pardew, Ronnie Corbett and Sam Hammam, who was their best man at their wedding, also attended.
Mr Noades is arguably the most successful chairman in Palace’s history. In his 17-year stewardship at the club he saw the Eagles get to the FA Cup Final and finish third in the old First Division.
He met Novello on January 2 1978 and proposed to her the next day. They have been together ever since and the funeral was held 36 years to the day that they met.
Mrs Noades said his ashes are to be scattered on the 18th fairway at Westerham Golf Course, 150 yards away from the green. It was one of his favourite parts of the course.
Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish has told Novello that the club are going to build a permanent memorial to Mr Noades in the main reception at Selhurst Park.
Mrs Noades also praised the work of the Royal Marsden Hospital, who treated Mr Noades, and said donations from the funeral will be going to them.
She added a charity event is to be held in Ron’s name in June where money will be raised for The Royal Marsden and the Velindre Cancer Charity.
Mrs Noades said: “Ron had such dignity throughout, he was incredibly brave. He remained strong until the end. He never complained at all.
“He was getting things organised right up until he died. He had been dictating emails to me so I could send them on.
“He had intended to write something for his funeral but we didn’t realise he was going to die as soon as he did. We thought he had weeks left.
“Ian Wright and Mark Bright both spoke at his funeral and I think it was clear to see how they regarded him.
“He was so brave until the very end, he was an extraordinary man. People have been coming up to me to tell me some great stories about Ron which I didn’t even know.
“It is just lovely that people are remembering what Ron did for them.”
She added: “Ron never thought about himself, he always thought about others. He was completely selfless.
“We had a long life together and we were very fortunate.
“I did not think I would be able to manage going to the game but I knew Ron would want me to. The minute’s applause was lovely and again I felt very proud.
“When I got into the boardroom everyone was so kind and inclusive. I am glad I went.
“I am going to Iceland this weekend with some friends. Myself and Ron often talked about seeing the Northern Lights.
“As long as it is a clear night we will see them. I will feel very close to Ron as he wanted to do that and I hope he puts a good display on for me.”