Saturday 21 January 2017

Royle Family star Caroline Aherne laid to rest at private funeral as family and friends celebrate her life

Published 15/07/2016 | 10:08

File photo dated 25/01/01: Caroline Aherne (centre) with fellow stars of The Royle Family Liz Smith (left) and Sue Johnston after they won the Comedy Award at the South Bank Awards, as Aherne has died at the age of 52 after a battle with cancer, her publicist has said. Photo: Fiona Hanson/PA Wire
File photo dated 25/01/01: Caroline Aherne (centre) with fellow stars of The Royle Family Liz Smith (left) and Sue Johnston after they won the Comedy Award at the South Bank Awards, as Aherne has died at the age of 52 after a battle with cancer, her publicist has said. Photo: Fiona Hanson/PA Wire
Caroline Aherne has died aged 52
Caroline Aherne had battled lung cancer
File photo dated 03/04/1998 of Caroline Aherne starring in an advert for PG Tips. Photo: PA Photos/PA Wire
File photo dated 21/09/1999 of Caroline Aherne at the Elle Style Awards. Photo: Michael Crabtree/PA Wire

Caroline Aherne was laid to rest at a funeral in Manchester, England, on Thursday.

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The comedienne and actress, best known for her role as Mrs Merton, an outspoken elderly woman turned chat show host, passed away at her home in Greater Manchester, England on 2 July aged 52, after a battle with cancer.

The British funny woman, who was born with a rare form of retina cancer, later received treatment for bladder cancer. And in 2014 announced she was battling lung cancer.

She was remembered by friends and family at a private ceremony which is reported to have taken place just a few mile away from her home in Timperley.

Television producer Jeff Pope wrote on Twitter: "The funeral today of one of our greatest working class heroes. The world is a poorer place for the loss of the incomparable Caroline Aherne."

The funeral was a small, private occasion but a larger memorial is expected to take place in the near future, giving Caroline's former co-stars and friends in the entertainment industry a chance to bid farewell to the star.

Caroline's co-stars on The Royle Family, Ricky Tomlinson, Sue Johnston, and Ralf Little, offered up their tributes to the actress following her untimely passing.

Tomlinson, who played her father on the show, told the Sunday Mirror, "I’m so bl**dy shocked. She was absolutely wonderful and amazing to work for. Kind, funny, witty. A true professional and one of the most generous people I ever worked with.

File photo dated 03/04/1998 of Caroline Aherne starring in an advert for PG Tips. Photo: PA Photos/PA Wire
File photo dated 03/04/1998 of Caroline Aherne starring in an advert for PG Tips. Photo: PA Photos/PA Wire

"She never talked about her health, ever. I can never ever remember her complaining. She must have gone through a lot but I never saw her looking unwell."

Sue Johnston, who played mother Barbara to Caroline's character Denise in the show, made a brief statement to the media, saying simply, "I am devastated at her passing and I am numb with grief."

File photo dated 21/09/1999 of Caroline Aherne at the Elle Style Awards. Photo: Michael Crabtree/PA Wire
File photo dated 21/09/1999 of Caroline Aherne at the Elle Style Awards. Photo: Michael Crabtree/PA Wire

And Ralf Little, who played her brother Antony, wrote on Twitter, "Sorry for silence - I just... don't know what to say. What a sad, sad day. We've lost another one of our best. A character. A legend. A boss. A sister, real and (for me) fake. A boss. A writer. An actor. A genius. A friend. Big, big heart. Goodbye. X"

He later wrote, "Thing is, amidst all sadness Caroline would now say something grounded, incisive, and hilarious. I can't think of anything, but she would."

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