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Wednesday, 8 May, 2002, 13:59 GMT 14:59 UK
Poignant farewell to Price
Tribute from Kylie Minogue
Kylie Minogue described herself as a fan
A touching message from Kylie Minogue has among the tributes at the funeral of Christopher Price, presenter of BBC show Liquid News.

The Australian pop starlet - who was recently interviewed by Price - sent flowers to the service at the Brompton Oratory in London.

Christopher Price
Price was destined for success
Minogue is currently on tour and unable to attend, but her message was attached to her arrangement of red and pink blooms.

Thousands of fans mourned after the 34-year-old was found dead in his London flat last month.

Friends and guests at the ceremony included former Brookside actress Claire Sweeney, who was due to co-host BBC Choice's coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest with Price later this month.

Also at the South Kensington church were Radio One DJ Chris Moyles, Royle Family star Ralf Little, comic Jenny Eclair and presenter Claudia Winkleman.

Price's coffin, strewn with white lilies, was carried into the church by six pallbearers.

'Absolute fan'

In contrast to the presenter's mixture of sarcasm and flamboyance, the Catholic mass was a sombre occasion with traditional hymns and requiems sung by the oratory choir.

In an emotional speech, BBC colleague Robert Nisbet - who found Price's body - described him as "one of the best friends I ever had".

He read out some of the hundreds of messages left on the show's website by grieving fans and recalled how Price was "sometimes infuriating, sometimes loving, occasionally a party animal, at other times a loner but always bright, always sharp and always Christopher".

Claire Sweeney attends the funeral
Sweeney said Price was a "lovely, caring friend"
And he broke down as he told the congregation: "Christopher, you left us far too early. The closing headlines came far too soon."

Readings were given by Price's brothers, his 14-year-old nephew James and his 16-year-old niece, Josephine, who described the "huge helpings of warmth and fun" her uncle brought.

After the service, a tearful Sweeney described Price as a "lovely, caring friend" and said his death had come as a terrible shock.

The presenter's family had requested that well-wishers did not send flowers, although they stated they were acceptable if they were from "Kylie or someone equally famous and glamorous".

Her note read: "Dear Chris, I am an absolute fan and am so happy to have met you.

"I was very much looking forward to seeing you again, in fact I still am. With much love and a big hug, Kylie."

Public memorial

After the Mass, Price was cremated at a private ceremony at Mortlake Crematorium in south-west London.

A public memorial service will be held on 25 May at St Martin-in-the-Fields on London's Trafalgar Square, on the day he was due to host coverage of the Eurovision song contest.

Instead of flowers, people are asked to donate money to Price's favourite charity Crusaid, which raises money on behalf of people living with HIV and Aids.

Price started his career as a journalist in BBC local radio, moving to Radio Five Live and News 24 before joining BBC Choice.

Liquid News - an irreverent look at entertainment news - was being lined up to become one of the leading programmes on the proposed digital channel BBC Three.

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