A quantity surveyor captured and killed in Nigeria “always made people feel special”, his parents told mourners yesterday.
More than 600 people gathered to pay their respects at the funeral service of Chris McManus, 28, from Oldham, who was killed earlier this month.
Mr McManus and Italian co-worker Franco Lamolinara died on March 8 as Nigerian troops and UK Special Boat Service commandos tried to end their captivity.
In a eulogy to him read out on their behalf at Oldham’s Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St Patrick RC Church, his parents Michael and Laura said: “He felt lucky in making friends in all areas of his life. He was able to establish long-lasting friendships without understanding this was his knack.
“He treasured his family. He loved us all so much. He always made people feel so special and we feel privileged that we knew him.”
They added that he loved his girlfriend, Katy, “so much”. “We know that when he was kidnapped his foremost thoughts would have been with Katy,” they said.
“He wanted to offer Katy the best life and future possible. We know he would still wish that for her.”
Mr McManus’s sister, Justine, told the congregation: “Chris always made the most of everything. He saw the positives that others could not.
“Chris’s interest in the wide world and his sense of adventure led him to some magnificent places and friends.”
Together with brother Benet, she concluded: “We are the people we are today because of you.”
Officiating the service, Father Phil Sumner said: “It is a terrible occasion yet one on which the family feel touched that the church is full of people concerned. People concerned as family, as friends, as a town.”
He revealed how the family would all meet up on the 12th of each month – following Mr McManus’s capture on May 12, last year – and talk to each other and lend support.
The priest continued: “The family told me as well there was a Muslim cleric who tried to intervene for Chris and was killed for having the audacity to do so.
“Chris was so thankful for the relationship he had with the Nigerian people whatever their background, except in his capture.”
The bid to rescue the men was apparently brought forward because the kidnappers – believed to be members of a jihadi group associated with al-Qaida – became aware that the net was closing around them.
The men’s bodies were found in a room at a compound in the town of Sokoto. They are believed to have been shot by automatic gun fire from their captors.