Stars gather for Nolan funeral

"SHE was our hero, our shining light".

Blackpool's most famous showbusiness family paid their last respects to their mum, the great Maureen Nolan Senior, yesterday.

Stars from the entertainment world, including Shane Richie, Joe Longthorne, Frank Carson, Roy Walker and Mo Moreland, gathered at Sacred Heart Church on Talbot Road to say farewell to the former soprano.

Mrs Nolan – whose daughters hit nationwide fame in the 1970s and 80s as the Nolan Sisters – died on December 30, aged 81, after battling with Alzheimer's for four years.

Paying tribute, her daughter Bernie Nolan said: "Our mum was amazing. Our hero, the shining light in our lives."

The Church fell silent as Anne Nolan sang Ave Maria and many of the congregation were brought to tears by the touching words from Mrs Nolan Senior's grandchildren who described her as a "beautiful gran" who showed them unconditional love.

Father Robert Dewhurst, who led the service, said: "She gave a great deal to others and will be remembered with a great deal of affection. She was a very strong Irish Catholic mum and acted as an anchor to provide stability to her family."

Mrs Nolan died at the Chasley Care Home on the Promenade.

Singer Joe Longthorne said: "She was an amazing woman. I'm thrilled I was able to come, it was such a warm, wonderful send off."

Funnyman Frank Carson added his tribute: "I knew Maureen for 40 years, she was a wonderful woman. She loved showbiz, she was stagestruck all her life."