Ilkeston-born Coronation Street star Bill Roache will be among the mourners at the funeral of TV presenter and singer Cilla Black tomorrow (Thursday).
The 83-year-old, who plays Ken Barlow in the soap, had been friends with Cilla for more than 30 years.
In the national papers at the weekend, he spoke of his sadness at her death, just months after losing his co-star Anne Kirkbride.
He told the Sunday Mirror: “I couldn’t believe it when I heard Cilla had died. I was at Paul’s (O’Grady) birthday party in June and she was fine.
“She looked great, so full of life and energy.
“When someone so full of vitality goes there’s a great sense of loss from the nation.”
Cilla’s funeral will take place at St Mary’s Church in Woolton, Liverpool tomorrow.
The 72-year-old died at her home in Spain on August 1 after suffering a stroke and hitting her head.
Her death hit the veteran actor, who is still coming to terms with losing Anne, his on-screen wife Deirdre, in January to cancer, hard. The pair had worked together for more than 40 years.
“The country has lost two wonderful ladies this year,” he said.