Thanks for all the fun, thanks for all the laughs; ta-ra girl, we will see you on life’s highway
Liverpool singer and TV presenter Cilla Black who hit the big time in the 1960s with her number one singles ‘Anyone Who Had A Heart’ and ‘You’re My World’, with other highlights in her glittering entertainment career include hosting Blind Date and Surprise Surprise, died at her holiday home in Spain aged 72. She was Liverpool’s beloved “first lady” the beautiful city stood united to say goodbye to Cilla Black as she came home for the last time. Thousands packed the streets as Black made her final journey to the same church where her marriage to her beloved Bobby Willis was blessed 46 years ago.
Crowds gathered along the two-mile stretch funeral route hours before the cortege set out towards the 19th century red-sandstone church. Standing 20-deep in some places, they threw roses onto the bonnet of the hearse carrying Cilla’s coffin. Some chanted “Cilla – Cilla” while others sipped champagne- the star’s favourite triple- in her honour. A second hearse had to drive ahead to carry all the floral tributes
The mourners, including Cilla’s adored sons- Robert, 45, Ben, 41, and Jack, 34, by her late husband Bobby - filed into a church filled with lilies, Roses, hydrangeas and gladioli. The service, conducted by the Rt Rev. Thomas Williams, Roman Catholic auxiliary bishop of Liverpool, opened with a tearful Sir Cliff performing Faithful One.
There were hymns including All Things Bright and Beautiful and Amazing Grace. Christopher, one of Cilla’s closest friends, read from the Book of Wisdom and there were also readings from Robert and Ben. Cilla’s grandchildren Max, 11, and Alana, 8, carried the communion wine. Robert, who was with Cilla in Spain when she died of a stroke after falling and hitting her head at her holiday home, told how his mother remained down to earth in spite of her fame. “She treated everyone just as she saw them, no matter who they were or their background,” he said. “She celebrated life in the living of it. She was my mother and your dear friend.”
Remembering the Laughs
Despite the sadness, comedian Paul lightened the mood, recalling “two decades’ hellraising” with his dear friend- prompting the bishop to joke that he should say three Hail Mary’s. “We had such a good time together,” Paul said. “We just laughed constantly. She taught me lots of thingsmainly never to turn right on the plane. She was a great friend. She was full of fun.” Jimmy, who had known Cilla since she was 15, called her “our treasured friend, Liverpool’s Cinderella”, adding: “She was the first lady of show-business
After the ceremony closed, with Cilla’s 1964 hit Anyone Who Had a Heart and the Beatles’ Long and Winding Road, there was applause as her coffin was carried to nearby Allerton Cemetery for burial alongside her parents John and Priscilla. It was the end of an extraordinary life- one that will be remembered always by Cilla’s many friends and fans. “I do not know what I am going to do,” said Paul. “The light went off a couple of weeks ago and it has not gone back on yet. I am just going to miss her so much.”
First ‘Blind Date’ couple Alex and Sue, to get married says ‘Cilla Black played a big part in their lives from the start’
Three years after they first met on the show the couple married, with Cilla Black and her husband attending the ceremony and reception, which were filmed for the show. Talking to Good Morning Britain, the couple (still married) said, “She played a big part in our lives from the start.” Alex And Sue said, we could not believe Black was gone. “You didn’t expect her to ever go, she would be there forever, she’s such a national treasure,” they said.