Bernie Nolan was laid to rest on Wednesday in an emotional service that she had planned before she lost her battle with cancer.The Nolan sisters were out in force to pay their final respects to their beloved sister who passed away on 4 July.The funeral took place in the Grand Theatre in her hometown Blackpool where well-wishers had lined the streets to say goodbye to the much-loved singer and actress.
It was a particularly fitting venue, which Bernie had chosen herself, because of her fond memories of the place.She often performed there with her famous siblings as part of the Nolan Sisters, whose biggest hit was I'm in the Mood for Dancing."The theatre was our lives," her sister Linda Nolan, 54, said. "Bernie was a born performer and did summer seasons and pantomime at The Grand."
Around 400 mourners attended the service alongside Bernie's husband Steve Doneathy and her 14-year-old daughter Erin.The Bill actress, who died after a three-year battle with cancer, had expressed a wish for her ashes to be buried alongside those of her stillborn daughter Kate, who she lost in 1997.Coleen Nolan has revealed how her sister had planned every detail of her funeral. "The funeral will be the party she wanted," Coleen told the Sunday Mirror, adding that it will be a "massive celebration of her life."
Bernie was first diagnosed with the disease in 2010. Following chemotherapy and breast reconstruction, the mother of one thought she had beaten it, announcing in February 2012 that she was free of cancer.Tragically, that summer the Dublin-born star was told that the cancer had returned to her left breast, brain, lungs, liver and bones.
Until shortly before the end, Bernie carried on doing what she loved most – performing. She starred as Mama Morton in Chicago and then the pantomime Sleeping Beauty, even as she continued with treatment.She started her professional life singing in clubs and pubs with her parents, sisters and brothers in Blackpool. In their heyday The Nolans sold millions of records. It was during a Nolans tour that Bernie met her drummer husband of 14 years.