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Friday, May 21, 1999 Published at 17:55 GMT 18:55 UK


UK

Weston mourns favourite daughter

Many people listened to the service relayed to a nearby park

The genteel English resort of Weston-super-Mare was the centre of attention as it buried its favourite daughter.

Farewell to Jill Dando
Jill Dando, the small-town girl who went on to become one of the UK's most recognisable faces, was brought back to the Somerset town of her birth for her funeral.

Crowds lined the streets of the town, about 100 miles west of London, for the funeral of the popular TV presenter. Even the weather turned chilly as if sensing the mood of sadness.

Derek James, 68, who has lived in the town for 42 years, said: "It is the saddest day in the history of Weston."

"Since it happened the whole town has been in shock and it seems everyone wants to be here to pay their respects."

Hospice close to her heart

The funeral cortege made a special detour, at the request of her family, past the hospice which Ms Dando had adopted as her own favourite charity.


[ image: Cortege made a special detour past the Weston hospice]
Cortege made a special detour past the Weston hospice
Staff and residents said they were "honoured and privileged" to be able to pay their respects.

Andy Page, spokesman for Weston Hospicecare, said: "There was not a dry eye here. It was a very moving emotional moment for all of us.

"There were some beautiful flowers around the coffin and it was a totally moving sight. It still feels as if it isn't true."

The hospice is planning some form of memorial to Ms Dando, possibly a bursary or a bereavement consultant.

Hundreds of mourners gathered outside Weston town hall.

Silent respect

The hearse carrying Ms Dando's coffin slowed down and the mayor, chief executive and chairman of North Somerset council fell silent.

Afterwards the Mayor of Weston-super-Mare, Ron Moons, said: "Today marks part of the grieving process and a part of Jill is gone but I'm sure people won't forget her. It's an absolute tragedy for the town.

"When time heals I will be talking to the families about a memorial."

Chief executive of North Somerset council Paul May said: "This afternoon was a great opportunity and a quiet opportunity for the town to show respect for its favourite daughter."

Many of the floral tributes outside the Clarence Park Baptist Church, where the funeral service took place, drew similarities with the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

'Our princess'


[ image:  ]
One read: "RIP Jill. Weston's lost our princess."

Another described her as: "Weston's very own Queen of Hearts."

Elsie Beards, from Weston, said: "She was a second Diana. I only wish they could find the person who killed her.

"They say that people get away with murder and in this case it may be true."

Stuart Cole, who lives in nearby Worle, said: "She has put the town on the map again today but for all the wrong reasons.

"She was attractive, kind and helped all sorts of causes."

Grace Humphries, from Weston, said: "Everyone is still stunned and the shock still hasn't worn off.

'Hard act to follow'

"Jill is a hard act to follow and no one will take her place, even though she has gone. This marks both the end and a new beginning of what Jill Dando means to Weston-super-Mare."

The service was relayed by the BBC to local residents listening on a special link-up in Ellenborough Park East.

Afterwards Ms Dando's body was taken to the cemetery where she was buried alongside her mother.

The Dando family has asked mourners to send donations, in lieu of flowers, to the Weston Hospice.

Cheques can be sent to Weston Hospicecare Jill Dando Memorial Fund, PO Box 224, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 2JL, or via the Website at www.westonhospicecare.org.uk.





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UK Contents

Northern Ireland
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England

Relevant Stories

21 May 99 | UK
Emotional farewell to Dando

21 May 99 | UK
Eulogy for 'lively, loving' Jill

21 May 99 | UK
Tributes to Jill - at-a-glance

21 May 99 | UK
Picture gallery: A day of mourning

21 May 99 | UK
Dando funeral address in full

21 May 99 | UK
Prayers for Jill





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