Cilla Black's funeral: Fans gather to pay their last respects

hellomagazine.com

Cilla Black was laid to rest in her hometown of Liverpool on Thursday afternoon. Hundreds of fans gathered along a two-mile route through the city to pay their last respects ahead of the ceremony at St Mary's Church, Woolton.

The star's funeral car followed a two mile cortege ahead of the service, with her name spelled out in red roses and a number of floral tributes around the coffin.

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Cliff Richard performed at Cilla's funeral

Cilla's sons Robert, Jack and Ben were joined by a host of her famous friends, including Christopher Biggins and Paul O'Grady, who took their seats in the church over an hour before it was due to start.

Both played a big part in the service, with Christopher giving a reading from The Book of Wisdom 3:1 – 9, while Paul gave a eulogy to close the service. Paul was one of Cilla's closest friends for over 15 years after they met on the set of Parkinson in 1998. The television presenter recently spoke to HELLO! about his friend's shock death, saying: "I feel lucky to have shared my life with her."

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Paul O'Grady gave a eulogy at the service

Other recognisable faces who gathered to pay their respects included Sir Tom Jones, Carol Vorderman, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, Les Dennis and Jimmy Tarbuck, who read the Prayers of the Faithful towards the end of the service.

Another of Cilla's many friends to play a role in the service was Sir Cliff Richard, who said he felt "privileged" to have known her as he delivered the opening words and performed the song Faithful One. The performer travelled with Cilla's sons and family members in one of five official cars in the funeral cortege.

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Her son Robert, who was on holiday with Cilla at the time of her death, read Henry Scott-Holland's poem Death Is Nothing At All, while his brother Ben read a passage by Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore.

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Cilla's name was written in red roses

Cilla's single Anyone Who Had a Heart played during Holy Communion, while The Long and Winding Road by The Beatles was chosen as the recessional music.

Following the service, Cilla will be laid to rest alongside her parents in a private service at Allerton Cemetery.

Cilla passed away on Saturday 1 August while she was on holiday in Spain. A coroner's report found that the 72-year-old died of natural causes after falling in her home and consequently suffering a stroke.