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The BBC's Rachel Ellison
"Her friend and fellow musician, Billy Bragg, sang at the service"
 real 56k

Saturday, 20 January, 2001, 15:03 GMT
Friends gather to remember MacColl
Kirsty MacColl
MacColl died in a speedboat accident last month
Friends and family of singer/songwriter Kirsty MacColl, who was killed in a boating accident last month, have gathered to celebrate her life at a memorial service on Saturday.

The 41-year-old died on 18 December when a speedboat ran into her as she was diving with her teenage sons off the coast of Mexico.

Others just sing about issues, Kirsty always got involved

Billy Bragg

Among those at the service were U2 singer Bono, and guitarist Billy Bragg, who penned one of MacColl's most popular hits New England.

Reverend Nicholas Holtam, leading the service at the church of St Martin-in-the-fields, near Trafalgar Square in London, said although MacColl's death had been deeply shocking there was much to celebrate about her life.

"Many of her songs touched the big questions of life," he told the congregation.

Billy Bragg
Billy Bragg: "Tough year"
After the service, Billy Bragg said it had been a very tough year for all those who loved witty songwriters, with the death of Ian Dury as well as MacColl.

In recent years she had become very involved in the campaign to get the US sanctions against Cuba lifted and Bragg said this was typical of her spirit.

"I considered her not just a friend but also a comrade. While others just sing about issues Kirsty always got involved."

Kirsty MacColl's mother, Jean MacColl, told the congregation that she had lost her best friend as well as her daughter, but added: "Kirsty is still with us, she is still touching the hearts of all the people she loved."

Private funeral

Her partner James Knight said: "The space left by her is bigger than the universe we live in."

A memorial fund to MacColl, called Music Fund For Cuba, has also been set up.

Jean MacColl
Jean MacColl: "Kirsty is still with us"
It will be used to provide instruments and sheet music for children in Cuba, which provided the inspiration for her music throughout the 1990s.

The music industry was shocked to learn of the singer's death, as she swam with her two children off the coral island of Cozumel.

Earlier this month, her private funeral was held in London, attended only by family and close friends.

BBC Radio 2 had planned to air a documentary series she had made about Cuban music shortly after she died, but postponed the shows as a mark of respect.

Now the series will start on 31 January at 2200 GMT.

It will be preceded by a tribute programme at 2000 GMT on Saturday.

Donations to the Kirsty MacColl memorial fund can be sent to: Music Fund For Cuba, c/o Major Minor Management, 99c Talbot Road, London, W11 2AT, United Kingdom.

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See also:

13 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Radio tribute for MacColl
08 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Private funeral for MacColl
22 Dec 00 | Entertainment
MacColl speedboat driver bailed
19 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Kirsty MacColl's life of music
19 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Music industry mourns MacColl
20 Dec 00 | Talking Point
Kirsty MacColl: Your tributes
19 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Singer Kirsty MacColl dies
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