Friday, May 21, 1999 Published at 18:22 GMT 19:22 UK
Emotional farewell to Dando
A private service for a very public person
The funeral of murdered BBC presenter Jill Dando has heard of her kindness, warmth and "sensitive humanity".
The cortège arrived at the church around 1500 BST after a three mile journey through the streets of the town.
Hundreds lined the streets to pay their final respects to one of the town's most famous daughters.
The private service for family and friends in Clarence Park Baptist Church was relayed to a crowd in a nearby park by the BBC.
Family and stars
The congregation included Crimewatch co-presenter Nick Ross, her close friend Sir Cliff Richard and other former broadcasting colleagues Anna Ford, Martyn Lewis, Bob Wilson and Eamonn Holmes.
Also there was Prince Edward's fiancée Sophie Rhys-Jones, who is due to get married next month.
Alan Farthing read out an anonymous poem which was one of "tens of thousands" of letters he had received in the wake of her death.
There was also a reading from the Bible from Sir Cliff Richard.
Click here to listen to the funeral service in full
Mr Collins, who first met Ms Dando in 1979, recalled her days as a reporter on the Weston Mercury newspaper.
The minister, who was a magistrate at the time, said: "I never read a report from her that was factually untrue, or written for sensational effect. She wrote with a sensitive humanity."
Humility and love
Mr Collins said: "There was a down-to-earthness about Jill, a humility and love for people that marked all she did.
"Popular with people. Cheerfully efficient. A talented actress with a bubbling sense of humour and an infectious giggle."
"Jill, the beautiful girl next door, known to every family in the country, was shot dead. And everyone was asking: 'Why?'"
'Why did this happen?'
Mr Collins said: "I know of nobody who could have had fewer enemies than Jill. Why should this happen to her?"
He said when she was shot a "lively, loving, beautiful light was extinguished".
The service was conducted by the Reverend Marc Owen, pastor of the Milton Baptist Church, where Ms Dando was once a regular visitor.
Mr Owen said: "Today we, along with many hundreds if not thousands of people not only in this community, not only in this nation, question 'Why - why did Jill have to die?'
"It would be quite wrong for anybody to stand here today and pretend to have an answer to that question - in all honesty, we do not know."
Congregation in tears
The service closed with the hymn Abide With Me and the mourners filed out, many in tears.
Ms Dando's former colleague on the Six O'Clock News, Nicholas Witchell, is also reporting on the funeral for the BBC.
He said before the service: "I never thought I would be standing here today broadcasting from her funeral.
"The whole thing is just unreal. It is going to be difficult but, like all the media, we all want to do it well as one form of tribute to Jill."
They also made arrangements with the media for only representatives of the BBC and the Press Association, the UK's main news agency, to cover the service.
However, other journalists joined the crowds in Weston-super-Mare and there were reports that some were planning coverage from the air.
Ms Dando is being laid to rest next to her mother, Jean, who died from leukaemia 13 years ago.
A special thanksgiving service is to take place at All Saints Church in Langham Place, central London on 28 September.
The hunt for Ms Dando's killer continues, with detectives following up leads generated by a reconstruction of the shooting on Crimewatch, a programme formerly presented by Ms Dando.
Those with information are asked to call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, or the police incident room on 0181 246 0732.