The heartbroken sister of courageous Bernie Nolan is calling on the people of Blackpool to line the town’s streets to celebrate her life on the day of her funeral.
Linda Nolan said it was her sister’s dying wish to be laid to rest in the resort. It was where she grew up and was a place that ‘had always held a special place in her heart’.
Singing star Bernie, 52, died on Thursday, after a long fight against cancer, with her family at her side.
Older sister Linda, 54, said Bernie had left instructions about wanting her funeral to be a celebration.
Linda said: “I would like to see the traffic stopped and the route to the service (at Blackpool’s Grand Theatre on July 17) lined with all her fans.
“We have all said that losing Bernie has been like a light going out in our lives.
“But she left a huge beacon with her music, her acting and her book. She is still very much with us.”
Following the private service at The Grand, Bernie will be taken to her final resting place at Carleton Crematorium.
Linda said the entire family had been overwhelmed by the love and support they have received from their fans.
She also spoke about her hope for a lasting memorial to be created for the star in Blackpool in the future.
Linda, who still lives in the resort, said: “Bernie absolutely loved Blackpool.
“Obviously, we are Irish and are proud to be Irish but Blackpool for us has always been our second home.
“Bernie loved St Annes, that is where she got married and that is where we will have the party to celebrate her life.
“She said the most upsetting thing of all was that she would miss the mother of all parties.
“She loved the town and would visit regularly.
“I’d love to see a lasting memorial created for Bernie in Blackpool.”
Bernie had last visited Blackpool during the February school half-term – when she was told she only had weeks to live.
Despite the cancer taking its toll, she embraced life organising a surprise birthday party for her husband Steve Doneathy and attending Linda’s birthday meal at Sapori restaurant in the town centre.
However, the very next day Bernie was admitted to Blackpool Victoria Hospital and was given the devastating news she had only two weeks to live.
After a few days in hospital, Bernie was transferred to Trinity Hospice.
Linda said: “It’s testament to her positivity and fight that Bernie gave us another four months, especially after being told she only had two weeks left.
“In those four months she was able to celebrate her daughter’s 14th birthday and her 17th wedding anniversary.
“Throughout all this she has been absolutely amazing, she was a truly inspirational woman.”
While Bernie was in Trinity Hospice thieves burgled her home and a stole a watch she had given to her husband on their wedding day.
Not letting this get her down she spent weeks to find an exact replica and had it inscribed with the words ‘together until the end’.
Paying tribute to her sister, Linda added: “Right until the very end Bernie was an inspiration, staying strong, fighting on and remaining positive.”
The private service at The Grand – for family and friends – will be held at 1pm on July 17.