Street stars say farewell to Tarmey

1:30pm Tuesday 27th November 2012

© Press Association 2014

Heart-warming tributes have been paid to Bill Tarmey who played loveable Jack Duckworth in Coronation Street for three decades.

Stars of the ITV1 soap from past and present joined Ali, his wife of 50 years, their two children, seven grandchildren 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 endearing, comically turbulent marriage was one of the most popular in soap history and won the hearts of millions of viewers across the world.

Mourners were told that Liz, 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."

Similar sentiments were expressed by former Street star, Nigel Pivaro, who played Jack and Vera's tearaway son, Terry. He said: "Behind the character was the man. Bill's huge generosity of spirit, his warmth, his wit, his patience, his wisdom.

"I think those qualities that he had in abundance we will keep them in our hearts as his legacy."

Bill died at his holiday home in Tenerife on November 9, aged 71.

The former builder was eking out a living as a crooner in working men's clubs before joining Coronation Street in 1977 as an extra. He landed the role of Jack Duckworth two years later and a Street legend was born, to the extent he did not leave the show until 31 years later.

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