Stars gather for Rik Mayall funeral

Stars gather for Rik Mayall funeral

File photo dated 21/07/03 of Rik Mayall, whose funeral takes place today with his family asking fans for their "thoughts and prayers". PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday June 19, 2014. The private ceremony for the star, who died last

Ruby Wax arrives for the funeral of Rik Mayall at St George's church in Dittisham, Devon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday June 19, 2014. The private ceremony for the star, who died last week aged 56, will be followed by a memorial serv

Dawn French arrives for the funeral of Rik Mayall at St George's church in Dittisham, Devon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday June 19, 2014. The private ceremony for the star, who died last week aged 56, will be followed by a memorial s

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FRIENDS and family of Rik Mayall, who died last week aged 56, paid their respects to the comedy legend at his funeral today.

About 140 mourners attended the service at St George's Church in Dittisham, Devon, to remember the star, who grew up in Droitwich and went to the King's School, Worcester.

Among the guests were friend and The Young Ones co-writer Ben Elton, comedians Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders and Ruby Wax and actor Alan Rickman, who watched the wicker coffin adorned with red flowers carried into the church.

Young Ones co-star Nigel Planer - who played depressed hippy Neil in the 1980's comedy series - was also on hand along with director Peter Richardson, who frequently collaborated with Mayall on projects such as the Comic Strip Presents films.

Mourners, dressed mainly in black, filed into the church accompanied by Procol Harum's A Whiter Shade of Pale.

The comedian - who portrayed roles such as Lord Flasheart in Blackadder and crooked Conservative MP Alan B'Stard in The New Statesman - died on Monday, June 9 after collapsing at his home in Barnes, South London, following what has been described as an "acute cardiac event".

A postmortom into his death was inconclusive and further investigations are being carried out in an effort to establish how he died.

He left behind three children, Rose, Sidney and Bonnie, as well as wife Barbara, who asked fans for their "thoughts and prayers" during the private ceremony.

The comedian, who was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Worcester in 2007, had a brush with death in 1998 following a quad bike accident, after which he was in a coma for five days. Although doctors feared he would suffer permanent brain damage he recovered but had to take medication to stave of seizures.

Last week Mayall's World Cup anthem Noble England - which was released in 2010 but failed to chart - reached number seven in the charts following a social media campaign.

A memorial service is expected to be held in September.

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