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August 19, 2002
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Broadcaster Chris Evans spoke of his sorrow yesterday as he left the funeral of his close friend pub owner James Ward, who was killed when he fell from a yacht as the former Big Breakfast presenter and other passengers watched in horror.

Dressed in a dark suit and purple sunglasses, and comforted by his wife, pop singer Billie Piper, the 36-year-old media mogul told reporters outside the Hascombe, Surrey church: “I’m very, very sad about this. James will be sorely missed. You heard what was said in the service. I can not add anything more.”

Chris and his 19-year-old spouse held hands as they walked the half-mile from their home to attend the hour-long service, attended by 250 family and friends. After the memorial, the couple, still hand in hand, joined mourners at a wake just 100 yards away at James’s White Horse Pub.

James drowned on August 7 while he and six friends, including Chris, were sailing to the Isle of Wight to celebrate the 55th birthday of his business partner Sue Barnett. The 50-year-old landlord, who was not wearing a life jacket, was skippering the 31ft vessel when he was knocked unconscious by a boom and tossed overboard.

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Comforted by his wife, pop singer Billie Piper, Chris told reporters: "I’m very, very sad about this. James will be sorely missed"

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