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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 April, 2004, 15:20 GMT 16:20 UK
Funeral held for 'angel' Keating
Caron Keating's funeral
Keating's funeral was held at the same church where she married
Gloria Hunniford has led mourners at the funeral of her daughter, TV presenter Caron Keating, in Kent.

Keating's husband Russ Lindsay began the service by reading a letter which Hunniford had written to Keating.

In it she said it had been a "joy and privilege" to have been Keating's mother. "You brought light and rainbows to us daily," said Hunniford.

Keating, who was best known for presenting Blue Peter in the 1980s, died of cancer last Tuesday aged 41.

Hunniford said that the last seven years, while Keating had been battling against the disease, had been full of "constant new discoveries".

Heartache

"I miss you so very much already," she said in her letter. "The heartache of losing you will never be healed but you have left us so many exquisite memories."

She also spoke of Keating's "generosity of spirit".

"You always did believe in angels and now you are one of God's brightest and most beautiful," Hunniford said.

Russ Lindsay also paid tribute to his wife, saying, "Caron was everything that a man could wish for in a woman. She was wonderful - intelligent, witty, caring, loyal and loving.
Gloria Hunniford

"I was the luckiest man in the world because for sixteen-and-a-half years I was the one that walked the path with her."

Applause

The congregation broke into a spontaneous round of applause after Lindsay's tribute, which ended with the Van Morrison song Have I Told You Lately? being played.

The same song was played at Keating and Lindsay's wedding in 1991.

Other music at the service came from Cliff Richard, who performed his song Miss You Nights.

The funeral service took place at Hever Church, in Edenbridge, Kent - the same church where Keating was married.

Among the first mourners to arrive were GMTV presenter Eamonn Holmes and Richard Madeley and Judy Finnegan.

Floral tributes

Madeley, who was one of the pallbearers at the service alongside members of Keating's family, said, "I was honoured to be asked. Caron and Russ were probably our closest friends."
Cilla Black and Cliff Richard
Cilla Black and Cliff Richard arrived at the funeral together

Other early arrivals included West End star Darren Day and singer Sir Cliff Richard, who arrived with TV presenter Cilla Black.

Presenters Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly attended with a group of family and friends.

Several former Blue Peter presenters, including John Leslie, Peter Duncan and Anthea Turner, were also among the mourners.

Floral tributes from celebrities including comic Jim Davidson and McPartlin and Donnelly were laid outside the church.

There were also floral tributes from Blue Peter and This Morning, as well as Rolling Stones' former bass player Bill Wyman and EastEnders' star Shane Richie.

Members of the public were welcome to mourn the former Blue Peter star outside the church, while family and friends attended the service inside.




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