Anne Kirkbride has been laid to rest in a small, private funeral. The Coronation Street actress was remembered by her family and close friends at a service on Tuesday, following her sad death last week at the age of 60. Among those paying their last respects were Bill Roache, who played her on-screen husband Ken Barlow, and close friend and fellow co-star Bev Callard (landlady Liz McDonald).
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Anne Kirkbride has been laid to rest in a private funeral service
Kate Ford, her on-screen daughter Tracy, Chris Gascoyne, her TV stepson Peter, and Johnny Briggs, who played her long-term lover Mike Baldwin, were also among the mourners at the invite-only funeral, as requested by Anne's heartbroken husband David Beckett, 62, and her brother John Kirkbride.
Anne – who was last seen on screen as Deirdre Barlow in October - passed away in a hospital in Manchester on 19 January from breast cancer. Her death devastated her family, friends and colleagues.
Speaking just a few hours after her sudden passing, Bill paid tribute to his co-star. "She was such a loving and vibrant person," he said. "You always knew she was there because her laughter was never far away… Coronation Street has lost one of its iconic characters, and Anne will be greatly missed.
Anne Kirkbride with her on-screen husband Bill Roache
"She was always loving, always happy. To have her as a partner for the past 40 years, I couldn't have been more blessed."
The day after her death, Bill gave an emotional interview on This Morning. "We were fully expecting her to be back and with us (on the Street), so it's been a dreadful shock," the 82-year-old admitted.
"…She was full of fun, a wonderful person… we all loved her and will really, really miss her.
"Whether we were together or not, Ken and Deirdre were soul mates. I loved her dearly and she loved me, and I respected her as an actress tremendously."