Former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy is to be laid to rest today near his highland home.

His family, friends, politicians and members of the local community are expected to gather in their hundreds to pay their last respects at a mass at St John the Evangelist church in Caol, Fort William.

The father of one died suddenly at his home on 1 June at the age of 55. He had suffered a major haemorrhage as a result of a long battle with alcoholism.

The service will be held at noon and will be followed by a private burial at Clunes, Achnacarry.

1999 file photo of Charles Kennedy enjoying lunch with his then-girlfriend Sarah Gurling. Credit: PA

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Both of Mr Kennedy's parents - who died in recent years, his father during the general election campaign - were laid to rest at the church.

The principal celebrant today will be Monsignor James MacNeil, administrator of the RC Diocese of Argyll and the Isles.

Parish priest Father Roddy McAuley, who has described Mr Kennedy as "a much-loved and respected parishioner", will preach the homily.

It is expected that audio of the service will be piped outside if the church is overflowing.

Mr Kennedy's family have described the funeral as "an opportunity for Charles's family and friends, the local community he loved and served for so long, as well as his political friends, to bid him a fond farewell".

Senior figures from the main political parties in Scotland are also expected to attend the funeral mass.

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