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Final journey for legend of resort past

The coffin of actress Dora Bryan leaves St George's Church in Brighton following her funeral service.

The coffin of actress Dora Bryan leaves St George's Church in Brighton following her funeral service.

A church was filled with laughter as more than 200 people gathered to celebrate the life of actress and former Fylde favourite Dora Bryan at her funeral.

Mourners gathered in Brighton yesterday to remember Dora, who was known for roles in TV’s Last Of The Summer Wine and classic British movies like 1961’s A Taste Of Honey, which was filmed in Blackpool.

Born in Southport, Bryan first came to the Fylde in the late 1940s with her then-fiancé former St Annes Cricket Club professional Bill Lawton.

She went on to appear in several summer seasons, plays and musicals in Blackpool.

Before the service, her son William Lawton, said: “She was a fantastic woman, a fantastic mother and loved by all.”

Mourners included actor Christopher Biggins who described her as an “exceptional woman”.

Outside the church he said: “She was fantastic. A wonderful woman, a wonderful mother.

“She was a one off. She was as mad as a snake, she was loved and she was a very special woman.

“It’s not often you get in our business a star who’s so nice and is a true star.

“She really loved people and they really loved her.”

Bryan’s coffin was carried into the church to her voice singing Hello, Dolly! from the hit musical of the same name in which she starred.

People sang along and clapped and cheered before Reverend Andrew Manson-Brailsford began the service with the hymn Jerusalem, which had also been sung at her husband’s funeral in 2008.

Ripples of laughter could be heard throughout the church as both of her sons, William and Daniel, gave a eulogy.

Daniel described their happy childhood growing up in Brighton and said they could not be more proud of all that their mother had achieved, including winning a Bafta for Best Actress in A Taste of Honey.

 

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