Anne Kirkbride memorial service held in Manchester
Anne Kirkbride was honoured with a memorial service attended by friends, family and former 'Coronation Street' castmates at Manchester Cathedral on Saturday (30.05.15)
Anne Kirkbride was honoured with a memorial service on Saturday (30.05.15).
Stars from 'Coronation Street' as well as friends and family attended the service at Manchester Cathedral to pay their respects to the late actress, who played Deirdre Barlow in the soap, following her death from cancer aged 60 back in January.
The 600-strong congregation included famous faces from the ITV soap such as Liz Dawn (Vera Duckworth), Julie Hesmondhalgh (Hayley Cropper), Helen Worth (Gail McIntyre) and Kym Marsh (Michelle Connor), with some of the longest-running screen stars speaking at the memorial.
Beverley Callard - who plays Liz McDonald - cracked jokes about their 28-year friendship during a short speech, describing her as "strong and sexy".
She said: "She was just the most wonderful woman, strong and sexy and funny and everything you could wish for in a person.
"We all miss her every day. That smoking shelter at work will never be the same again.
"It's great that so many people love her so much and have traveled such a long way to say goodbye and just to say, 'We really love you, Annie'."
Elsewhere during the 75-minute service - which Anne's husband of 23 years, Dave Beckett, helped to organise - her on-screen husband Bill Roache (Ken Barlow) read a poem, while Michael Le Vell (Kevin Webster) broke down in tears during a eulogy penned by Anne's brother, John.
The soap veteran starred in more than 3,300 episodes of the show before appearing in her final scenes in October, and Michael said they still miss her presence on set.
Speaking after the ceremony, he said: "It was a great big shock at first.
"But Anne's name is still on the dressing room door - we all still feel she's part of us and she's still around.
"She was such a vibrant person and she is missed every day, but her presence is still felt and the memories we have, all the great things and the good times we had together.
"I feel very, very blessed to have known and worked with her for 33 years.
"To have had her in my life for that length of time, it's joyful."
And Jimmi Harkishan (Dev Patel) admitted he was especially devastated by Anne's passing as he never got to say goodbye to her.
He told the Sunday Mirror newspaper: "We worked really closely together when Dev and Deirdre had a mad affair. She's a wonderful, wonderful person and a beautiful actress.
"When Anne passed away I was in Vietnam and I never got the chance to say goodbye so it's been difficult for me.
"It was the most beautiful service, so many people turned up. The music, the singing, the videos of her, playing the harmonica, it was really touching."