Jade Goody, queen of Bermondsey, gets a royal send-off
Thousands of mourners lined the streets of London and Essex on Saturday to say their last goodbyes to Jade Goody as she was finally laid to rest.
Tearful fans gathered together to watch the ten-car cortege move through Bermondsey, the South-East London district where Jade grew up, and continue through to Jade’s home in Upshire, Essex, on to St John the Baptist Church in Buckhurst Hill, Essex.
Grief-stricken Jade’s mother, Jackiey, was shaking and crying as she got into the car at the head of the procession, led by funeral director, Barry Albin.
The London Community Gospel Choir sang Amazing Grace as Jade’s white coffin was carried into the church shortly after midday.
Jade’s widower Jack Tweed was among the six pallbearers, and could barely hide his emotions under his dark sunglasses.
The 21-year-old sparked a shower of tears as he took to the podium to read Jade a poem he had written her, in which he said: ‘My life will never be the same without you by my side.
‘Grief almost too much to bear, pain difficult to hide. But when we look into the sky for the brightest star above, Bobby, me and Freddie will send you all our love.’
The Big Brother star’s sons did not attend but sent messages in a bottle from Australia, where they are on holiday with their father, Jeff Brazier.
They held their own ceremony, hours before the funeral, on the beach at a private resort near Sydney.
In the letters, which they launched into the ocean, the boys wrote: ‘To Mummy, Please speak to God and ask him to make the clouds go away on holiday because we can’t see the stars.
‘We love you very much and speak about you every day, we know you are with us when we play on the beach, eat our dinner and even when we are colouring in pictures for you, we know we can talk to you and you’ll hear us.
‘You are always in our thoughts and in our hearts, mum, we are proud of you and you’ll never be forgotten.’
It ended: ‘We miss you, love your little men, Bobby and Freddie.’
Jade’s good friend, personal trainer Kevin Adams, read an emotional tribute, revealing her and Jack had planned to marry before she fell ill.
‘Long before Jade’s illness, she got a letter from Jack. In it he said in no uncertain terms that she was the woman he wanted to marry.
‘It is being buried with her and that letter will now never leave her side.’
But, for those who hadn’t already been reduced to tears, the moment came when Jade herself made an appearance in an emotional video goodbye.
A film clip of the star ended with her saying: ‘That’s it from me. See you around maybe. Bye.’
The personal goodbye, recorded shortly before her death, followed a montage of photographs of the star, accompanied by The Beatles’ She Loves You, shown inside the church and relayed on a giant screen outside.
Celebrity guests who came to pay their last respects included Davina McCall, Jamelia, Blue’s Anthony Costa, and chef Aldo Zilli.
Emotional tributes were left from thousands of people, including Richard and Judy, who wrote: ‘For brave, sweet Jade, who always tried to make life better for herself and her two beautiful boys. You did it darling. Rest in peace.’
Last night Jade’s publicist, Max Clifford, said she became a princess in Bermondsey and a queen in Essex.
The day’s events, he added, were ‘very much a Jade Goody production’.