Tearful Roy Walker pays tribute to Joe Longthorne at entertainer's emotional Blackpool funeral a week after he died aged 64 in his husband's arms

  • Comic and impressionist was carried through his adopted city of Blackpool in a hearse ahead of his funeral
  • Procession began at his home before passing several venues where he made his name, such as the North Pier
  • Stars such as Roy Walker, the Nolan sisters and Roy 'Chubby' Brown were among the mourners present today
  • The 64-year-old singer died in the arms of his husband on August 3 in Blackpool following a battle with cancer

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Joe Longthorne died in his husband's arms earlier this month following a lengthy cancer battle

Joe Longthorne died in his husband's arms earlier this month following a lengthy cancer battle

A host of tearful celebrities paid their respects to Joe Longthorne during an emotionally-charged funeral service in Blackpool today after the veteran entertainer died at the age of 64.

Catchphrase host Roy Walker sobbed as he delivered a poignant eulogy to his dear friend in front of hundreds of fans and relatives, as stars including Ricky Tomlinson and the Nolan sisters watched on.

Comedian Roy Chubby Brown paid his own glowing tribute to the comic, claiming his adopted city of Blackpool would 'never be the same' following his death this month, adding that they 'might as well remove that tower'.

The star's coffin was driven through the city and applauded by fans as hundreds of them lined the roads to pay their own respects.

The funeral procession began at his Layton home before passing several of the venues where he made his name, including the iconic North Pier.

Mourners then attended a service at Sacred Heart Church, where hundreds of fans were permitted to join friends and family.

Canon Bob Dewhurst revealed that Longthorne had wanted a 'simple service with straightforward hymns' that the public could attend.

The 64-year-old singer died in the arms of his husband James, who was also seen at today's service, on August 3 in Blackpool following a battle with cancer.

He had battled with cancer for much of his adult life, after first being diagnosed with blood cancer in 1987 which resulted in a diagnosis of chronic lymphatic lymphoma two years later.  

He received treatment for the disease but in 2005 the lymphoma degenerated into Leukemia and he underwent a bone marrow transplant.

He was then diagnosed with throat cancer in 2014 but was determined to continue performing.

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A tearful Roy Walker (pictured), original host of the Catchphrase, was among those to give a glowing eulogy of the entertainer, while comedian Roy Chubby Brown said 'Blackpool will never be the same without Joe Longthorne'

A tearful Roy Walker (pictured), original host of the Catchphrase, was among those to give a glowing eulogy of the entertainer, while comedian Roy Chubby Brown said 'Blackpool will never be the same without Joe Longthorne'

Ricky Tomlinson and Tony Barton
Bobby Ball

Actors Ricky Tomlinson and Tony Barton (left) were among the crowd who paid their final respects to veteran entertainer Joe Longthorne as he was laid to rest a week after his death. Pictured right is Bobby Ball

Comedian Roy Chubby Brown paid his own glowing tribute to the comic, claiming his adopted city of Blackpool would 'never be the same' following his death this month, adding that they 'might as well remove that tower'

Comedian Roy Chubby Brown paid his own glowing tribute to the comic, claiming his adopted city of Blackpool would 'never be the same' following his death this month, adding that they 'might as well remove that tower'

Joe's husband James takes a poignant look into the hearse at his dear partner's coffin
The order of service given to mourners

Joe's husband James takes a poignant look into the hearse at his dear partner's coffin (shown left), while right shows the order of service given to mourners

Stars such as Ricky Tomlinson, the Nolan sisters and Roy Walker were among the mourners as a service took place at Sacred Heart Church (pictured), where hundreds of fans were permitted to join friends and family

Stars such as Ricky Tomlinson, the Nolan sisters and Roy Walker were among the mourners as a service took place at Sacred Heart Church (pictured), where hundreds of fans were permitted to join friends and family

Hundreds of fans lined the streets of Blackpool today as the city paid its final respects to veteran entertainer Joe Longthorne following his death at the age of 64

Hundreds of fans lined the streets of Blackpool today as the city paid its final respects to veteran entertainer Joe Longthorne following his death at the age of 64

A host of tearful celebrities paid their respects to Joe Longthorne during the emotionally-charged funeral service in Blackpool today after the veteran entertainer died at the age of 64

A host of tearful celebrities paid their respects to Joe Longthorne during the emotionally-charged funeral service in Blackpool today after the veteran entertainer died at the age of 64

The 64-year-old singer died in the arms of his husband James, who was also seen at today's service (pictured), on August 3 in Blackpool following a battle with cancer

The 64-year-old singer died in the arms of his husband James, who was also seen at today's service (pictured), on August 3 in Blackpool following a battle with cancer

Anne, Linda and Maureen, members of the girl group the Nolan Sisters, were among those in attendance today as Joe Longthorne was laid to rest
Roy Chubby Brown

Anne, Linda and Maureen, members of the girl group the Nolan Sisters (left), and comedian Roy Chubby Brown (right) were among those in attendance today as Joe Longthorne was laid to rest

Pallbearers carefully guide the coffin of Joe Longthorne back out of Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Blackpool ahead of a private burial ceremony

Pallbearers carefully guide the coffin of Joe Longthorne back out of Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Blackpool ahead of a private burial ceremony

Joe's husband James is hugged by a fellow mourner
Shown is a floral display on show inside the actor's hearse

Joe's husband James is hugged by a fellow mourner today (pictured left). Shown right is a floral display on show inside the actor's hearse

He remained defiant in the face of the disease, saying of his diagnosis: 'Cancer is not a word you expect to hear when things are going so well.'

'I felt invincible and suddenly out of the blue I felt helpless. I had two choices - to give in or fight. I chose the latter. I got up, dusted myself off and got on with life'.

The star singer was born into an entertainment family of Romani descent in Hull, on May 31, 1955.

During his childhood, he made regular appearances on the ITV series 'Junior Showtime' until the age of 16.

He shot to fame after appearing on the London Weekend Television series 'Search for a Star' in 1981.

His roaring success on the show led him to perform at venues such as the London Palladium and a month-long season at London's Talk of the Town.

Three of his albums went platinum and he appeared in theatre in the US and at the Sydney Opera House.

In 2007 the Variety Club awarded him their Lifetime Achievement Award, which placed him amongst past recipients such as Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and Ella Fitzgerald.

He even went on to present his own television programme, The Joe Longthorne Show.

He was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire in his 2012 Birthday Honours for services to charity.  

Among the items on display during the service was the comedian's MBE that he received from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace in 2012

Among the items on display during the service was the comedian's MBE that he received from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace in 2012

Christopher Maloney
Alice Barry

Singer Christopher Maloney and actress Alice Barry were among those in attendance today as mourners paid their final respects to Joe Longthorne

Blackpool was brought to a standstill today as friends, relatives and fans alike gathered in the town centre to pay their respects to veteran comic Joe Longthorne

Blackpool was brought to a standstill today as friends, relatives and fans alike gathered in the town centre to pay their respects to veteran comic Joe Longthorne

Floral wreaths bearing heartfelt messages from the comic's loved ones were visible inside the hearse ahead of the star's burial in a private ceremony this afternoon

Floral wreaths bearing heartfelt messages from the comic's loved ones were visible inside the hearse ahead of the star's burial in a private ceremony this afternoon

Roy Walker
Jamie Moran

Northern Irish television personality and comedian Roy Walker (pictured left) was among those in attendance today, with mourners led by Joe's husband James Moran (right)

Family and friends are led into the church by Joe Longthorne's husband James Moran today as fans of the star show their appreciation

Family and friends are led into the church by Joe Longthorne's husband James Moran today as fans of the star show their appreciation

Alice Barry and Roy Brown
Pete Price makes his way inside the church

Actress Alice Barry and comedian Roy Chubby Brown share a hug ahead of the service, as radio presenter Pete Price makes his way inside the church 

The coffin of Joe Longthorne is carefully removed from the back of a hearse before a service takes place at Sacred Heart Church in Blackpool

The coffin of Joe Longthorne is carefully removed from the back of a hearse before a service takes place at Sacred Heart Church in Blackpool

Roy Chubby Brown
James Longthorne

Comedian Roy Chubby Brown shared a greeting with another mourner outside the church (shown left), as Joe Longthorne's husband James makes his way inside for the service

Canon Bob Dewhurst revealed that Longthorne had wanted a 'simple service with straightforward hymns' that the public could attend (pictured)

Canon Bob Dewhurst revealed that Longthorne had wanted a 'simple service with straightforward hymns' that the public could attend (pictured)

A floral display resembling a piano is left in the window of the hearse after Joe Longthorne's coffin was carried into the church

A floral display resembling a piano is left in the window of the hearse after Joe Longthorne's coffin was carried into the church

Christopher Maloney
Royle Family star Ricky Tomlinson

X Factor singer Christopher Maloney (pictured left) was among the mourners today, as was Royle Family star Ricky Tomlinson (shown right)

Mourners attended a service at Sacred Heart Church, where hundreds of fans were permitted to join friends and family in paying tribute to the star

Mourners attended a service at Sacred Heart Church, where hundreds of fans were permitted to join friends and family in paying tribute to the star

A touching floral wreath from the Gallagher family, staff and friends at an art deco cafe at Stanley Park was among those placed near his coffin

A touching floral wreath from the Gallagher family, staff and friends at an art deco cafe at Stanley Park was among those placed near his coffin

The star's coffin was driven through the city and applauded by fans as hundreds of them lined the roads to pay their own respects

The star's coffin was driven through the city and applauded by fans as hundreds of them lined the roads to pay their own respects

Joe Longthorne (left) performs with comedian Les Dennis (right) in a sketch from the comedy television series 'The Les Dennis Laughter Show' in 1987

Joe Longthorne (left) performs with comedian Les Dennis (right) in a sketch from the comedy television series 'The Les Dennis Laughter Show' in 1987

The late singer Joe Longthorne performs on the comedy television series 'The Les Dennis Laughter Show', March 20th, 1988

The late singer Joe Longthorne performs on the comedy television series 'The Les Dennis Laughter Show', March 20th, 1988 

'It is with the deepest sadness that we have to announce that the nation's beloved entertainer Joe Longthorne MBE passed away peacefully in the early hours of today at his cherished home in Blackpool,' the statement read
'Joe died in his bedroom, laying in the arms of his devoted husband of 21 years Jamie, with his rosary beads clutched tight to his chest'

The star singer was born into an entertainment family of Romani descent in Hull, on May 31, 1955. He shot to fame after appearing on the London Weekend Television series 'Search for a Star' in 1981 (he is pictured here performing in 1986)

Joe Longthorne died in the arms of his loving husband of 21 years, James Moran (pictured, left) at the home they shared together near Blackpool

Joe Longthorne died in the arms of his loving husband of 21 years, James Moran (pictured, left) at the home they shared together near Blackpool

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Joe Longthorne's funeral takes place in his adopted hometown of Blackpool

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