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Stars pay tribute to courageous Caron.

Gloria Hunniford yesterday led tributes to her 'courageous' daughter Caron Keating, saying: 'I feel so proud to be your mum.'

Mrs Hunniford expressed her sense of loss during a moving funeral service for former Blue Peter and This Morning presenter Caron -who died last week aged just 41 following a seven-year battle against breast cancer.

She was 'too emotional' to speak herself, but Caron's husband Russ Lindsay read out a letter to the congregation at St Peter's Church in the grounds of Hever Castle, Kent. Caron was later buried at the church. Mrs Hunniford wrote: 'You brought light and rainbows to us daily.

'You always did believe in angels and now you are one of God's brightest and most beautiful.'

She also said that Ulster-born Caron had wanted to enjoy one final cup of tea around her mother's kitchen table in Sevenoaks, Kent, and this wish had been granted when Russ drove her home from a clinic in Switzerland the night before she died.

'With your incredible instinct and typical Irish timing you made it back,' the letter said. Mr Lindsay and their sons, Charlie, nine, and Gabriel, seven, were also at Caron's bedside during her last hours. Paying tribute to his 'wonderful, brave and courageous' wife in the 13th Century church where they were married 13 years ago, 42-year-old Mr Lindsay said she had slipped away 'peacefully'.

As many celebrity friends including TV's Richard and Judy, Eamonn Holmes, Ant and Dec, and Cliff Richard looked on, he said: 'The way that Charlie and Gabriel held her hand and kissed her is a memory I will keep with me forever.'

He continued: 'Caron was everything a man could wish for in a woman.

'I was the luckiest man in the world because for sixteen-and-a-half years I was the one who walked the path with her.'

Mr Lindsay said the family had spent the last years of Caron's illness living in Australia and trying alternative treatments around the world.

After his tribute the congregation -also including former Blue Peter stars John Leslie, Mark Curry, and Peter Duncan -broke into a spontaneous round of applause before the song Have I Told You Lately by Van Morrison was played.

Mr Lindsay said it was the first song they danced to after they were married.

Floral tributes were being delivered hours before the service began at the 250-capacity church, and scores of local people stood outside, where the tributes were relayed on loudspeakers.

A bouquet signed 'From Richard and Judy' said: 'Good night, sweet Caron and may flights of angels sing thee to thy rest. With all our love in the world.'

Another bouquet from TV presenter Jim Davidson said simply: 'May you rest in peace.'

Flowers from Saturday Night Takeaway hosts Ant and Dec said: 'Our thoughts and prayers are with you.'

CAPTION(S):

Gloria Hunniford arriving for the funeral of her daughter Caron Keating at St Peter's Church in the grounds of Hever Castle, Kent; Cilla Black and Sir Cliff Richard; The order of service lies with a floral tribute; Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Apr 21, 2004
Words:513
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