TV stars gather to mourn Mike Reid

PUBLISHED: 12:33 15 August 2007 | UPDATED: 21:46 29 May 2010

Mike Reid’s coffin is carried into the church - Pics: Sarah Lucy Brown

Mike Reid's coffin is carried into the church - Pics: Sarah Lucy Brown

A HOST of stars from the world of television and entertainment paid tribute to the life of Mike Reid, at a service on Tuesday. Outside Little Easton Parish Church, Barbara Windsor, who starred with Reid on EastEnders, said: He made us laugh, he made us c

A HOST of stars from the world of television and entertainment paid tribute to the life of Mike Reid, at a service on Tuesday.

Outside Little Easton Parish Church, Barbara Windsor, who starred with Reid on EastEnders, said: "He made us laugh, he made us cry. He was a great actor, a great comedian and a lovely man."

Other stars to attend the service included comedian Russ Abbot, former boxer Henry Cooper and actors from EastEnders including Pam St Clement, June Brown and Sid Owen.

The coffin carrying the actor and comedian, who died last month at the age of 67 at his home in Marbella, Spain, arrived at the church shortly before 3pm and was carried by six pallbearers.

His wife Shirley was in tears and her hands were visibly shaking as she followed the coffin into the church. She was met at the gate by the Rev Cilla Hawkes who spoke to her before heading inside.

The novelty song The Ugly Duckling, recorded by Reid in 1975, was played as the coffin entered the church. There was applause from the congregation afterwards.

After the reading of a poem, his step-son Jimmy paid tribute to his father, he said: "Even before he was famous people noticed him because he had an aura that surrounded him.

"To our mother Shirley his loss is almost too much to bear. We will take comfort in our cherished memories."

Stan Taylor, the life president of the Comedians Golfing Society, described Reid as a "colossus in the world of entertainment," and added that he would "have the audience in the palm of his hand."

David Hahn, Reid's agent, said: "I know Mike would have wanted us to celebrate his life. He thought the world of Shirley. She is only a petite lady, but was the biggest thing in Mike's life."

Speaking about Reid's varied acting career, Mr Hahn said: "He has been in a number of films and not a lot of people realise that. He was in Casino Royal and The Dirty Dozen."

Reid is best remembered for his role as Frank Butcher in the BBC1 soap opera EastEnders. Mr Hahn said: "He loved everybody on the show and he adored Barbara Windsor."

The service ended with the hymn The Lord is my Shepherd and the Lord's Prayer. The service finished at 3.45pm.

As the congregation left the church, former boxer Henry Cooper stopped to speak to the throng of reporters that had gathered outside. He said: "Mike Reid was a smashing bloke and a great golfer."

Outside the church a number of floral tributes had been laid, of which one read: "Granddad, you are the best. You will be sorely missed by all of us.

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