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BBC Wales's Jon Gower
"He had a zest for life and a gift to entertain"
 real 56k

The BBC's Nick Higham
pays tribute to Sir Harry
 real 56k

Denis Norden remembers his friend
"He could liven up a gathering without resorting to jokes"
 real 56k

Sir Harry's brother Fred Secombe
"He kept his sense of humour to the end."
 real 56k

Friday, 20 April, 2001, 12:59 GMT 13:59 UK
Stars bid farewell to Sir Harry
Sir Harry's funeral
The funeral was at a church near to Sir Harry's home
Showbusiness friends and family members have paid their final respects to legendary entertainer Sir Harry Secombe, who died last week aged 79.

Among the stars at Friday's service were entertainers Bruce Forsyth, Jimmy Tarbuck, Barry Cryer and Bernard Cribbins.

Sir Harry - who made his name as part of the visionary comic collective The Goons - died in hospital in Guildford, Surrey, from prostate cancer.

Members of the Swansea-born star's close family at the service, included his wife Lady Myra, their four children and six grandchildren.

Bruce Forsyth (L) and Jimmy Tarbuck were among the mourners
Bruce Forsyth (L) and Jimmy Tarbuck were among the mourners

The London Welsh Choir sang at the private service near to the home Sir Harry shared with Lady Myra, his wife of more than 50 years.

Sir Harry's favourite hymns were sung, Abide With Me and The Lord Is My Shepherd.

Members of Sir Harry's close family read poems and passages during the service.

The first reading was the poem Remember by Christina Rossetti.

A reading from Corinthians was followed by a poem, written by Sir Harry, entitled Growing Older - read by his elder brother Fred.

The service concluded with the traditional Clown's Prayer, marking Sir Harry's life-long love of comedy.

Tributes

The ceremony was relayed to a crowd of about 50 members of the public who stood outside the church.

The path leading up to the entrance of the church was lined with floral tributes and wreaths from many of Sir Harry's friends and former colleagues.

Lady Myra (R) was joined by friends and family
Lady Myra (R) was joined by friends and family

Among them was a wreath of white lilies from Goon fan the Prince of Wales with the message: "For Harry with profound admiration and great affection from Charles."

Spike Milligan - the only surviving member of The Goons - was unable to attend the service for health reasons.

But he sent a wreath with the message: "Love, light and peace."

The family of fellow Goon Peter Sellers also sent a wreath, as did Welsh singer Tom Jones, comedian Norman Wisdom, boxer Henry Cooper and actress Ruth Madoc.

Making people laugh was just part of what Sir Harry contributed to the world during his life.

Floral tributes
Many floral tributes were sent

He also fronted religious programmes Highway and Songs of Praise, highlighting his strong Christian faith.

He was also a tireless worker for charity.

He raised 250,000 for the physically and mentally disabled since 1967. Sir Harry received his knighthood in 1981.

But health problems dogged the star and in 1999 he announced his retirement from the entertainment world following a stroke.

A memorial service is being held in London at a later date.

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See also:

11 Apr 01 | Entertainment
Picture gallery: Sir Harry Secombe
11 Apr 01 | Entertainment
Sir Harry: The ultimate entertainer
11 Apr 01 | Entertainment
Sir Harry's 'joy' greatly missed
11 Apr 01 | Talking Point
Sir Harry Secombe: Your tributes
05 Sep 99 | Entertainment
Secombe bows out of limelight
30 Jan 99 | UK
Secombe suffers stroke
30 Dec 00 | New Year Honours 2000
Spike's comic genius hailed
24 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Sellers tribute unveiled
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