A COMMUNITY turned out in force to say a fond farewell to a Llay man who made national headlines when he married a woman 47 years his junior.

In 2004 Brian Williams became the centre of massive media attention when at the age of 64 he married 17-year-old Stacey Furneaux, whom he met through his daughter.

Five years later, it was announced the marriage was over.

Mr Williams, 71, a former pub manager of Shone’s Lane, died after a long battle with illness on May 28.

His funeral at St Martin’s Church in Llay yesterday was attended by scores of his friends and relatives.

Paying tribute to him, his son Brvon, 23,  said: “He had suffered from prostate cancer and also had heart failure.

“He was a real character and if you met him once you’d never forget him.

“He always had a smile on his face and would help anyone out.

“He had lived in Llay all his life and was well loved by everyone who knew him.

“He will be missed very much.”

Also paying tribute to Mr Williams was one of his oldest friends, 47-year-old Neville Davies, also of Shone’s Lane.

He said: “I had known Brian ever since I moved here 20-odd years ago.

“He was a very good friend of mine, in fact he was my best mate.

“Brian would do anything for you.

“I always said that if he couldn’t do it for you you’d have to buy it.”

He added: “We were in the Llay branch of the Royal and Ancient Order of Buffalos together for many years and also on the committee at Llay British Legion.

“Unfortunately, he had been ill for some time and had been in and out of hospital.

“I got a phone call from his son to say he had passed away and I was really shocked.

“I was very sad to lose him as a friend.”

About 80 people gathered at St Martin’s for Mr Williams’ funeral and more than 20 close family and friends walked from his home to the church behind the cortege.