Bill Tarmey Funeral: Corrie Says Goodbye

Bill Tarmey Funeral: Corrie Says Goodbye

Coronation Street stars have gathered in Manchester to pay their respects to the actor Bill Tarmey, who played Jack Duckworth in the long-running soap.

Tarmey, 71, became one of TV's most recognisable faces as the long-suffering husband to nagging battleaxe Vera, played by Liz Dawn.

The ceremony at the Albion United Reformed Church in Ashton-under-Lyne was attended by a host of the actor's former co-stars including Julie Goodyear, William Roache and Kevin Kennedy.

Moving readings and tributes were given by his granddaughter, grandson and Coronation Street co-stars Nigel Pivaro, who plays his son Terry and Samia Ghadie, who plays Maria O'Connor.

Ghadie described Bill as "devoted to his family" and said he had been a "surrogate father" to her during her first months on the soap.

"He was genuinely one of the most decent and honourable men you could ever wish to meet," she said.

"Jack and Vera were a truly unforgettable and formidable partnership, and I doubt we'll ever see that again. They were simply iconic and Jack Duckworth will forever be a true Coronation Street legend.

"On behalf of everyone who works at Coronation Street and has worked on the programme during its 52 years, and the loyal viewers who have followed the programme throughout these years - Bill, we salute you."

Tarmey worked as a singer in local nightclubs before landing his role on the Street in 1979.

During the funeral service a recording of his track The Wind Beneath My Wings was played whilst a montage charting his career and life was screened throughout the church, leaving many of the congregation in tears.

Tarmey was one of the show's best-loved actors and it was his chemistry and rapport with his on-screen wife that provided some of the most memorable and funny moments in the soap.

Speaking during the ceremony Pivaro questioned why Jack Duckworth was beloved by millions across the world.

He was "a workshy ne'er do well, a layabout and they were just his good points", he said.

But the actor added "there is a bit of Jack Duckworth in all of us men, frustration and thwarted ambition, you know the rest".

He continued: "Behind the character was the man. Bill's huge generosity of spirit, his warmth, his wit, his patience, his wisdom."

The service was relayed on loudspeakers for several hundred fans of the show who gathered outside.

The former builder was married to his childhood sweetheart Alison for 50 years and they had two children, Carl and Sara.

A life-long smoker, Bill suffered with persistent heart problems, but it was the ill health of his son that forced him to quit the soap in 2010 to help care for him, whilst he battled a brain tumour.

The actor died earlier this month while at his holiday home in Tenerife.