Corrie legend Bill Tarmey was laid to rest today in Manchester. Bill played Jack Duckworth in the soap for over 30 years and stars of the show attended the Lion United Reform Church in Ashton-Under-Lyme along with Bill's friends and family to bid farewell to one of the most popular cast members in the history of the street.
Among the eulogies was one delivered by Nigel Pivaro, who played Jack's errant son Terry. He said: "Today the world is a little poorer for not having him with us and heaven's a little richer. Thank you Bill for living such a wonderful life so fully and sharing it with all of us.
Samia Ghadie, who plays Maria Connor talked movingly of Bill taking her and Alan Halsall (Tyrone Dobbs) under his wing: "To many of us here will share great memories of Bill. He made me laugh so much that on occasions I'd be crying with laughter. He was wise, kind, honest, warm-hearted and had the most generous spirit. In my early days at Corrie he was like a surrogate dad to me and Alan. In those early days he taught Alan and me how to be professional and good to others. Some words of wisdom he shared with us that we still live by are, 'Be good to those you meet on the way up as you'll surely come across them on the way down'."
She continued: "He was genuinely one of the most decent and honourable men you could ever wish to meet. Jack and Vera were a truly unforgettable and formidable partnership, and I doubt we'll ever see that again. They were simply iconic and Jack Duckworth will forever be a true Coronation Street legend. On behalf of everyone who works at Coronation Street and has worked on the programme during its 52 years, and the loyal viewers who have followed the programme throughout these years - Bill, we salute you. And thank you Bill for being the light in our lives for all those years and for bringing so much joy and happiness to millions of people. We love you, we already miss you and we'll never ever forget you.'
Also in attendance were Liz Dawn (who played Jack's wife Vera), William Roache, Alan Halsall, Jack P Shepherd, Shobna Gulati, Kate Ford, Sue Nicholls and Helen Worth. There were also former street stars included Roy Barraclough, Bruce Jones and Kevin Kennedy, who said: "I can't really be sad because every time I think of Bill, a smile's not far behind. It's not how you die, it's how you live and he's left a wonderful legacy. Bill was just a joy and I feel honoured that I knew him and to have called him a friend.