Nolans and Roy Walker join stars paying respects at Joe Longthorne’s funeral

Joe Longthorne was laid to rest today as a host of his famous friends attended his funeral to pay their respects.

A service for the legendary singer and impressionist took place today in Blackpool.

Joe died in his husband's arms on August 3 at the age of 64.

He had spent 50 years in showbiz entertaining crowds with his much-loved impressions and singing talents.

The showbiz stalwart had previously battled cancer several times throughout his life, carried on performing up until his death despite a diagnosis of throat cancer in 2014.

His services to the industry saw him awarded an MBE.

Today, his friends said their goodbyes.

Among those to gather for the service were the Nolan Sisters, Anne, Linda and Maureen, veteran presenter Roy Walker, X Factor's Christopher Maloney and actor Ricky Tomlinson.

While almost everyone wore black or dark colours, the mood seemed to be a happy one and more of a celebration of Joe's life than a sad affair.

The funeral procession had begun at Joe's home in Layton at 11am and passed venues he performed at throughout the years, including the famous North Pier, on its way to Sacred Heart Church, where the funeral took place.

Yesterday, a special procession took place in the town of Hull, where Joe grew up.

Drivers pulled over and stopped as a mark of respect to Joe as he made his final journey, according to Hull Daily Mail .

Some of Joe's fans and friends were out to celebrate his life as one family said they had known him since he was a young boy.

Sandra Pougher, 75, told the paper: "We have known him since he was a young boy. I actually looked after his grandma when she was poorly. They are a marvellous family. They have done so much for charity that no one knows about."

While another mourner Peter Ketley, 50, said of his friend: "We were really good mates and I miss him daily.”

Joe, who came to fame in 1981 as a singer and impressionist on the TV show Search For A Star, had planned to perform at several gigs just days after his death, including an appearance at Viva Blackpool on Sunday, August 4.

Joe had previously battled blood cancer in 1987 which ended with a diagnosis of chronic lymphatic lymphoma two years later.

The singer continued to work throughout his illness, but had to undergo a bone marrow transplant in 2005 when the lymphoma degenerated into leukaemia.

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