The Liverpudlian actor, a friend of Cilla’s for 60 years, offered his own tribute to “Liverpool’s Cinderella”, when he got up to lead the congregation in prayers.
Visibly emotional, Jimmy introduced the prayers by explaining: “I would usually start by saying how nice it is to be here, but today that is not the case. It’s a sad day, and I’m sorry to be here, for obvious reasons.”
He then offered prayers for Cilla’s “beloved sons”, “for those whose lives our Cilla has touched”, and “for the people of Liverpool, who took this girl into our hearts”.
Addressing the congregation, compiled of Cilla’s family and some of her cherished famous friends, he added: “Remember Cilla, our mum, our nan, certainly our treasured friend, Liverpool’s Cinderella. She was the first lady of showbusiness. To be born a lady is an accident, to die one is an achievement.”
Cilla’s close friend, Christopher Biggins, was also among those paying tribute, closing his reading by simply saying: “We will always love you, Cilla.”
Cliff Richard, who had a holiday home near Cilla in Barbados, opened the service by recalling some of the good times they had shared together, before performing a musical tribute to his close friend, singing his song ‘Faithful One’.
Cilla died of a stroke earlier this month, aged 72, at her holiday home in Spain.