Belfast Telegraph

Picture of the week: Last ta-ra for city's favourite star

By Laurence White

She was one of their own and they did her proud on her final journey through the city that she loved and where she was loved.

Thousands lined the streets leading to St Mary's Church in the affluent Liverpool suburb of Woolton where the funeral of Cilla Black took place.

It was a service packed with her celebrity friends, but in the hearts of the ordinary people who turned up to pay their respects, she was the biggest celebrity of all.

It had been a long and winding road from those days in the Sixties when she worked behind the check-in desk at the famous Cavern Club as just plain Priscilla White, a girl with a burning ambition to be a singing star.

She fulfilled that ambition in spades and even carved out another career as a television presenter of two of the most popular shows on the small screen, Surprise Surprise and Blind Date.

Cilla may not have been on our screens for a decade before he shock death at her home in southern Spain's Costa del Sol, but somehow she retained the affection of her legion of fans, nowhere more so than in Liverpool.

Instantly recognisable with her red hair and toothy smile she was a star with a wonderful common touch.

Fans related to her and felt that she was approachable, far removed from the image of so many modern celebrities.

Of course her lifestyle was so much different from those who lined the streets to pay tribute, showering the cortege with flowers in a manner reminiscent of the scenes during the funeral of George Best in his native Belfast a decade ago.

Perhaps the greatest tribute to her star status was last year's three part drama, Cilla, on ITV which portrayed her rise to fame. It's not many people who get a biopic when they are still alive and still fewer whose life story could draw an audience of that size in today's multi-channel television age.

Cilla once said that she enjoyed being in the public eye. Even in death she was still the centre of attention.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph