Funeral for Beatles' first manager Allan Williams

Allan Williams Image copyright PA
Image caption Allan Williams died in December aged 86

Friends and family gathered to pay their respects to the man credited with discovering the Beatles and who became the band's first manager.

Allan Williams, who worked with the Beatles from 1960 to 1961, died in December aged 86.

He arranged the band's breakthrough residency in Hamburg, where their future development was shaped, but parted company with them a year later.

His funeral was held at Liverpool Parish Church earlier.

Image caption Williams' funeral was held at Liverpool Parish Church from 11:30 GMT

John Keats, from Liverpool's Cavern Club, said he was "a huge part of the [Beatles] story."

"It was Allan that took them to Hamburg and in terms of the Beatles story, that's incredibly important... it's in Germany playing all those long sessions that they really got their stage set together and became a group."

"It's a huge loss but you've got to celebrate the fact that Allan was such a character," he said.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Beatles in the early days in 1963

Born in Bootle, Williams was the original owner of Liverpool's Jacaranda Club, which opened in 1957 as a coffee bar, where he let the band play.

He then helped to secure them gigs in Britain and personally drove the van to take the Beatles to Hamburg in 1960.

Williams parted company with John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Pete Best and Stuart Sutcliffe in 1961.

The following January, the band - minus Sutcliffe - signed a five-year contract with Brian Epstein.

Williams later co-wrote a memoir called Allan Williams: The Man Who Gave The Beatles Away.

Image caption Mourners gathered outside the church ahead of the service

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