Stars bid farewell to 'Coronation Street' legend Bill Tarmey

HEART-WARMING tributes have been paid to "humble man" Bill Tarmey who played loveable Jack Duckworth in 'Coronation Street' for three decades.

Stars of the ITV1 soap joined Ali, his wife of 50 years, their two children, seven grand-children and one great-grandson at his funeral service.

Among the 700 mourners packed into Albion United Reformed Church in Ashton-under-Lyne was his former on-screen wife, Liz Dawn.

Together, as Jack and Vera, their comically turbulent marriage was one of the most popular in soap history and won the hearts of millions of viewers.

Mourners were told that Dawn, who attended the service in a wheelchair, was "devastated by Bill's loss".

Both stepped down from the soap in recent years due to health reasons.

In a eulogy, their ex-colleague, Samia Ghadie, who plays Maria Connor, said the pair were "a truly unforgettable and formidable partnership, and I doubt we'll ever see that again".

She added: "They were simply iconic and Jack Duckworth will forever be a ' Coronation Street' legend.

She spoke of Tarmey and Dawn as being "truly talented actors".

"Their timing was perfect and they had this amazing bond together," she said. "They were almost telepathic in their approach."

Fighting back tears, she said Tarmey was "wise, kind, honest, warm-hearted and had the most generous spirit".

William Cleworth-Piddington, his real name, was born in Ardwick, Manchester.

The former asphalt spreader and builder dreamt of becoming a singing star and was eking out a living as a crooner in working men's clubs before joining 'Coronation Street' in 1977 to supplement his earnings. Tarmey landed the role of Jack Duckworth two years later.

He died on November 9 at his holiday home in Tenerife aged just 71 years old.

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