18 FEBRUARY 2009

The Coronation Street cast were there on mass to support actor Bill Roache this Tuesday as he said his final farewell to late wife Sara. Show bosses halted filming for a day so the soap's actors could attend the Wilmslow funeral. It's the first time in ten years proceedings have been called to a halt.

Bill, who has played Ken Barlow in the soap for nearly 50 years, paid tribute to his wife who passed away unexpectedly of an undisclosed cause on February 7, aged 58. "When I first met Sara, 35 years ago, she was a young, beautiful, vibrant girl and only a few days ago she was still young, beautiful and vibrant - the perfect wife in every way," he said.

Corrie stars past and present were among the 200 mourners. Those present included Anne Kirkbride - Bill's on-screen wife Deirdre - Anthony Cotton, who portrays Sean Tully, and former cast member Bruce Jones, who played Les Battersby.

Photo: Rex
The Coronation Street veteran is comforted by on-screen wife Anne Kirkbridge, who joined the rest of the cast at the Cheshire funeral. Filming was stopped for the first time in ten years so actors could attend
Photo: Rex
Joining the 200 mourners at the service were (from left) actors Anthony Cotton, Jenny McAlpine, Tupele Dorgu, Julia Howarth and Katy Cavanagh