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Tuesday, 29 June, 1999, 18:15 GMT 19:15 UK
TV's 'Uncle Albert' laid to rest
The funeral was at St Michael and All Angels Church in Verwood, Dorset
Only Fools and Horses stars David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst led mourners at the funeral of Buster Merryfield - known to millions as Uncle Albert in the hit BBC comedy.

White-whiskered Merryfield, who died aged 78 last week of a brain tumour, was buried minutes from his beloved Dorset home after a funeral service attended by other stars of the show and hundreds of fans.

David Jason: Led mourners
Jason, who played Del Boy, and Lyndhurst, who played brother Rodney, sat next to Merryfield's wife of 57 years, Iris, and his daughter Karen.

The two stars filed in behind Merryfield's coffin as it was carried into the tiny, packed St Michael and All Angels Church in Verwood.

Other stars of the show at the service included Ken MacDonald - Nag's Head landlord Mike - and John Challis, who played wide boy Boycey.

MacDonald recited a poem and paid a moving tribute to Merryfield on behalf of the cast, describing him as "one of the most gentle men I have ever met".

He added: "We were a very tight unit, and we feel we have lost one of our comrades today."

Tearful tributes

Merryfield's agent and long-time friend Sandy Ross-Brown then made her tearful tribute.

Recalling Merryfield's life as a bank manager and in the Army before becoming famous, she told the mourners how he had loved meeting his fans.

She said: "He was a great giver and by being well known was able to contribute to others.

"To be able to help charities gave him deep satisfaction, doing something for the community."

Merryfield was known to millions as Uncle Albert
In his address, the Rev Canon Alan Gill paid his own tribute to the actor, saying: "He was loved and respected by millions for his endearing ability to make us all laugh."

Mr Gill then quoted from Merryfield's autobiography, During the War, in which the actor wrote about how he came to be in showbusiness so late in life.

Merryfield wrote: "I flirted with show business - by now I was in love with the theatre. I had discovered what it was to stir people's emotions through acting.

"It was to be my vocation. It was to be my purpose in life. I was being called just as sure as a missionary is called."

See also:

23 Jun 99 | UK
Only Fools star Buster dies
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