'A dear friend and true legend' Mourners gather for funeral of Hi-De-Hi! actress Ruth Madoc

Friend's and family have paid tribute to "positive influence" Ruth Madoc on the day of her funeral.

The TV actress, who died aged 79, led a hugely successful career on stage and screen spanning more than 60 years.

Guests arrived at the service on Monday, which was held at St David's in Neath, including actress and singer, Su Pollard, who wore a bag covered in catch phrases and TV shows the late actress worked on.

Ruth has been described as a "true legend" Credit: PA

Su remembers Ruth “always championing her country" and someone who "always loved Wales, was very, very proud and I think she put Welsh people on the creative map".

She continued: “She was always a joy, she always looked fabulous, she was terribly chic, her makeup was great, loved her family."

"Everything positive that you could think and she embodied everything about professionalism, you know she was stoical, she signed a contract, she saw it through. She was very privileged she said to be in a job that she really loved, so she took on board what her job meant.”

In a message to the late actress, Su said: "Ruth darling, we’re outside the church and I’m thinking of you and sending lots of love like we all are”.

Su added: “I hope she’ll be remembered as somebody that was a positive influence, someone that enjoyed herself, she made a difference you know, because she was very clever.

"She was a bit of a political girl as well in terms of knowing her stuff. You could have a good conversation with her, but someone who was just positive and added something good to your life. She was a good girl.”

Flowers were left by TV stars, David Walliams and Matt Lucas, with a note saying: "Dear Ruth, it was a pleasure and honour to work with you".

Ruth starred alongside Lucas & Walliams in the hit TV series, Little Britain.

Ruth Madoc appeared as Daffyd Thomas's mother in the second series of BBC sketch show Little Britain.

Ruth was also a patron for the charity Sight Life (the new public name of Cardiff Institute for the Blind) and devoted a lot of her time to fundraising.

The chief executive of Sight life, Richard Harvey, described Ruth and her efforts to support the charity as “phenomenal”.

“Personally as a child growing up in the events and eighties, I remember her very fondly as Gladys Pugh in Hi-De-Hi, but as a fantastic ambassador for our charity, a very caring person, much loved by our membership and was keen to roll up her sleeves and get involved." He said.

"I think Ruth really understood that losing your sight is probably the disability that people most fear and that our work across the whole of South Wales prevents people from having that fear, gets them back into their normal activities, prevents them from slips, trips and falls, gets them involved in communities and societies and helps save NHS and social services budgets.”

Mr Harvey added: “She was involved in so many fantastic productions, a down to earth person as well, It think people were quite surprised that she wasn’t Gladys Pugh n the flesh, but will very fondly remember her with the very kind words that we’ve received from our membership since her passing.”

Comedian Mike Doyle paid tribute to the late actress on social media. He Tweeted: "Today we say our goodbyes to the lovely #RuthMadoc bye bye lovely lady RIP".

Ruth was best known for her role as Gladys Pugh in the BBC television comedy Hi-de-Hi!, which was about a holiday camp set in the late fifties.

The actress went on to receive a BAFTA TV award nomination for the role in the Best Light Entertainment Performance category.

Picture credit: BBC

Other notable work included her parts in Fiddler On The Roof, Under Milk Wood and more recently Little Britain.

She was born in Norwich, but raised with her Welsh grandmother Etta Williams and her English grandfather in Llansamlet, Swansea.

The actress died at the age of 79 on 9 December 2022, following a fall.

At the time, Ruth was due to perform in the pantomime Aladdin at the Princess Theatre in Torquay, but had to withdraw following the incident. Her agent, Phil Belfield, confirmed the star passed away in hospital after surgery later that week.

In a statement announcing her death, he described her as a "national treasure", as well as "a unique talent loved by many".