Hundreds of well-wishers gathered to celebrate the life of Coronation Street star Anne Kirkbride.
Stars of the ITV soap past and present, were among around 600 people who converged on Manchester Cathedral yesterday, for a remembrance service in honour of Anne, who played Corrie’s Deirdre Barlow.
She died of cancer in January, aged 60.
Her close friend, Beverley Callard, who plays Liz McDonald, and her on-screen granddaughter Elle Mulvaney who plays Amy Barlow, gave affectionate tributes, as did her brother John, the ITV1 show’s executive producer Kieran Roberts and crew members.
Long-term on-screen husband William Roache, who plays Ken Barlow, gave a reading of the David Harkins poem She Is Gone.
Anne, 60, was one of the show’s best-known performers and was loved by millions for her portrayal of husky-voiced Deirdre, famed for many years for her oversized spectacles.
Callard told the service it was “fantastic” that there was “so much love in one room for one person”.
She said: “She would absolutely hate this event and she would have said ‘they will understand why I can’t go’, but she would also be really proud.”
Kirkbride was like “a stick of
dynamite” in that everyone would know when she arrived in the building, she added.
She said her friend had found the
on-screen “man of her dreams” with Roache and also off-screen when she met her future husband, David Beckett, after he joined the show in 1990 to play her handyman boyfriend.
She said: “Dave made Annie’s life complete. Not only was he her husband but was also her dearest friend.
“That meant everything. It made her an even better actress as she always knew at the end of the day she could go home and be herself and be loved and be enveloped in her gorgeous family.”