Lynda Bellingham's husband has explained how the scale of public grief for his wife caught him by surprise.Read the full story ›
The husband of Lynda Bellingham has said the success of her memoir is the "best ever memorial" to the actress, who died last month after battling cancer.
Her book 'There's Something I've Been Dying To Tell You', discusses her illness in detail and has sold over 150,000 copies so far.
Her widower, Michael Pattermore, said: "The response to the book has meant so much to us. Lynda would be over the moon - and especially at all the news we are getting about how what she has said has helped so many people. For the boys and me, that's the best-ever memorial we can have for her."
Presenter Gyles Brandreth, who was a friend of Bellingham, said she would have been "thrilled beyond words to find that her book had become a number one best-seller".
TV presenter and actress Lynda Bellingham "showed us how to live and taught us how to die," TV personality and former MP Gyles Brandreth said at her funeral today.
Brandreth was among stars of the stage and screen who joined Bellingham's family, including her husband Michael Pattemore, at a poignant service in Crewkerne, Somerset, today.
ITV News' Martha Fairlie reports:
The husband of Lynda Bellingham told mourners gathered at her funeral of the couple's first meeting ten years ago to the day in Spain.
Michael Pattemore told the congregation: "When our eyes met I knew there was an immediate attraction. Apparently the first thing Lynda whispered to her friend Pat was 'There's a Jack the Lad if ever I saw one'. Honestly I am not.
"As I stood in that Spanish sunshine 10 years ago falling in love with a beautiful woman, never in my worst nightmares did I imagine that today I would be speaking at her funeral.
"Thank you Lynda for letting me be a lucky, lucky man who shared your life for 10 wonderful, far too short years."
Fighting back tears, Mr Pattemore added: "I did try and keep my promise to keep her safe but the only thing I couldn't do was protect her from this vicious cancer.
"I don't like feeling helpless but there was so much I couldn't do for her. Most people only get one chance in life for love and I am truly lucky in getting another go."
A poignant letter Lynda Bellingham wrote to her two sons was read out by the pair at her funeral service in Somerset today.Read the full story ›
Fireworks were set off as Lynda Bellingham was laid to rest at a cemetery in Crewkerne, Somerset.
Silver, green and red fireworks were accompanied by cheers and loud clapping from the mourners who had gathered at Townsend Cemetery for the private service.
Some guests wept and embraced each other outside the church following the funeral before walking to the cemetery.
Bellingham's husband Mr Pattemore was overheard telling a group outside the chapel: "Everyone laughed as she came out, that is exactly what I wanted. It was exactly what I wanted."
Friends from the showbiz world including Loose Women co-star Denise Welch paid tribute to Bellingham at her funeral today.
Welch received a round off applause as she read out an ode she had written for her friend.
During the piece she said: "If you are looking down from wherever you are I am sure you will be having a hoot at the odd bods that loved you so dearly like Biggins in that bloody pink suit.
She added: "Your humour is what I will remember and the dirtiest laugh known to man."
Biggins had mourners laughing with a theatrical five-minute tribute to his great friend.
Then, fighting back tears, he turned to the coffin and said: "Lynda... Belly... we will cry but eventually at the end of the day we all love you, we will always love you as you were so, so special. Thank you."
TV personality and former MP Gyles Brandreth paid the first tribute at Lynda Bellingham's funeral.
Speaking at the church in Somerset, he said:
Sometimes sadness and celebration can go hand in hand. Here we are in this beautiful, amazing church in Michael's home town saying goodbye to lovely Lynda.
Brave, beautiful, brilliant, funny, fabulous Lynda. As we say goodbye to her in here, her book is No 1 bestseller. I think she would have liked to have gone out on a high.
I first met her nearly 40 years ago when we were introduced by Biggins. Of course, I fell for her at once. She was so funny and so sexy - even gay men fancied her.
Shakespeare has one of his leading ladies remind us that all things must die, passing through nature to eternity.
Lynda was an extraordinary force of nature, intelligent, gifted, generous, funny, feisty, open, honest, kind and caring.
I don't think I have known anyone more alive than Lynda Bellingham. She showed us how to live and in the last year or two of her life she taught us how to die - with grace, courage, humour and acceptance.
She rang me three weeks ago and said she was in a good place. 'I am sad for the boys and Michael but I'm all right'.
She was all right, she was the best and she was our friend. Aren't we the lucky ones?
Tributes were then read by her sister Jean Bellingham and actress Maureen Lipman.
TV star Christopher Biggins said the pink suit he wore to the funeral of Lynda Bellingham would have "put a smile on her face".
Biggins wore a bright pink suit and pale shirt and accompanied to the funeral of Lynda Bellingham at St Bartholomew's Church in Crewkerne, Somerset, by his partner, Neil Sinclair.
Asked about his suit, Biggins replied: "She (Lynda) would like this, put a smile on her face."
Many of the guests arriving at the church were carrying umbrellas due to the rain, as more than 100 members of the public lined the path outside the church to pay their respects.
Lynda had asked for a lively send-off, so her husband, Michael Pattemore, has lined up a string of acts to make the funeral a Royal Variety-style celebration of the much-loved actress's life.
Her friend, former Archdeacon of London Peter Delaney MBE, is leading the service at the church, which holds 300 guests.
Among the showbiz stars gathering for the funeral were Loose Women Coleen Nolan, Jane McDonald, Andrea McLean and Kate Thornton, as well as Julia Sawalha, Coronation Street's Helen Worth, Robert Lindsay, Giles Brandreth and Downton Abbey's Julian Fellowes.
Also attending was her screen husband from the hit Oxo adverts, Michael Redfern. The actress, who died of cancer last month, was 66.