YORK said a final farewell to much-loved hairdresser Julio Garcia today with tears and laughter.

It was standing room only in the chapel at York Crematorium as friends came from far and wide to pay their final respects to a man remembered, with huge affection, as the fun, Spanish, flamenco half of York hairdressing duo Glen and Julio.

In place of solemn music, there was a rousing rendition of 'Y Viva Espana', with which many in the congregation joined in.

Julio died of cancer at York Hospital last month, aged 70. Glen Jackson, his husband and partner of 50 years, was at his bedside.

York Press:

Julio with his pet dachshund Sophia

Glen sat quietly in the front row of the chapel today, fighting back tears, the couple's beloved pet dachshund Sophia on his knee, as speaker after speaker paid tribute.

Family friend Derek Collinson spoke of how Julio and Glen met in Spain when Glen was a 'young blond British hairdresser on holiday to get over a break-up'.

They were inseparable for the rest of their lives, he said. They battled visa difficulties and homophobia and were eventually able to settle in York, where Julio trained as a hairdresser under Glen. The young apprentice with the 'Spanish accent and flamenco twist to his wrist' quickly won the hearts of customers, Derek said.

York Press:

Julio's husband Glen Jackson, with the couple's pet dachshund Sophia on his knee

The couple, from their Glen and Julio salon on Bishopthorpe Road, soon became York institutions.

They styled the hair of generations of York people, both served as president of the York and Yorkshire Hairdressers Federation, and together they represented Great Britain in World and European hairdressing championships, winning gold medals in Holland, Germany, Italy and London, as well being named British, Scottish and Welsh champions.

It was always Glen who won, Derek recalled, with Julio a creditable second - until one day in Blackpool. "The announcer said 'second place, Glen Jackson'. Glen looked around, as if thinking 'what's going on'. Then the announcer said: 'Winner, Mr Julio Garcia!'"

Julio could scarcely contain himself, Derek said. "He leaped up on the podium and shouted 'I have beaten you, Mr Jackson!'"

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In happier times: Glen, left, and Julio in their salon in Bishopthorpe Road on the day they retired in 2015

Another friend, Angela, spoke of the man she knew as 'brave, caring, creative compassionate, glamorous and fun'.

A third friend, Kate, said: "Everybody in this congregation will remember Julio and how, when he was talking to you, you were the only person around. You laughed with him, you cried with him - and of course, he loved a bit of gossip! I will miss him so much!"

Outside the chapel, other friends remembered him fondly.

"He was such a lovely gentleman, full of fun!" said Pearl Wake, who has been friends with Glen since attending dance school at the age of 3.

Heather Baldison remembered Julio's unique style on the dance floor, in which he gave a Spanish twist to everything he did.

"He could dance to anything!" she said. "He was just a diva!"

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Julio's coffin in the chapel