Mourners say final farewell to comedian Bobby Ball

Mourners including the Nolan sisters have said a final farewell to comedian Bobby Ball, as his funeral procession passed Blackpool Tower.

The Cannon & Ball star was laid to rest on Tuesday following a funeral at Hope Church in Lytham, Lancashire.

The comedian, who found fame as part of the double act in the 1970s and 1980s, died at Blackpool Victoria Hospital on October 28 aged 76 after testing positive for Covid-19.

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Comedian Tommy Cannon arrives at Hope Church in Lytham Saint Annes, Lancashire, ahead of the funeral of entertainer Bobby Ball.
The funeral cortege of entertainer Bobby Ball arrives at Hope Church in Lytham Saint Annes, Lancashire.
Mourners wearing red braces in honour of comedian Bobby Ball outside Hope Church in Lytham Saint Annes, Lancashire, ahead of the entertainer's funeral. (Photo by Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images)
BLACKPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 17: Members of the public gather on the promenade to pay their respects to comedian Bobby Ball as his funeral cortege passes Blackpool Tower and the Comedy Carpet on November 17, 2020 in Blackpool, England. Oldham-born entertainer Bobby Ball was one half of comedy duo Cannon & Ball and died, aged 76, on 28 October after contracting Covid-19. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
BLACKPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 17: The funeral cortege of comedian Bobby Ball passes Blackpool Tower and the Comedy Carpet on November 17, 2020 in Blackpool, England. Oldham-born entertainer Bobby Ball was one half of comedy duo Cannon & Ball and died, aged 76, on 28 October after contracting Covid-19. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Mourners wearing red braces in honour of comedian Bobby Ball outside Hope Church in Lytham Saint Annes, Lancashire, ahead of the entertainer's funeral. (Photo by Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images)
The funeral cortege of entertainer Bobby Ball passes the Comedy Carpet in front of the Blackpool Tower on its way to Carleton Crematorium in Blackpool.
BLACKPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 17: Members of the public applaud as the funeral cortege of comedian Bobby Ball passes Blackpool Tower and the Comedy Carpet on November 17, 2020 in Blackpool, England. Oldham-born entertainer Bobby Ball was one half of comedy duo Cannon & Ball and died, aged 76, on 28 October after contracting Covid-19. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
(left to right) Bobby Ball, Frank Carson and Tommy Cannon arrive for the funeral of Bernard Manning at Blackley Crematorium, Manchester. . (Photo by Gareth Copley - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 26: Bobby Ball, Tommy Cannon and Roy Walker share a joke before comedian Bernard Manning's funeral on June 26, 2007 in Manchester, England. Manning passed away on June 18, 2007 at the North Manchester General Hospital aged 76. (Photo by Gary M. Prior/Getty Images).
SCARBOROUGH, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 30: Bobby Ball and Tommy Cannon Photo Shoot on September 30, 2009 in Scarborough, England. (Photo by sarahphotogirl/WireImage) *** Local Caption ***
SCARBOROUGH, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 30: Bobby Ball and Tommy Cannon Photo Shoot on September 30, 2009 in Scarborough, England. (Photo by sarahphotogirl/WireImage) *** Local Caption ***
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 18: Bobby Ball and Tommy Cannon attend the British Soap Awards at Media City on May 18, 2013 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
and Right: TOMMY CANNON Bobby Ball British Comedy Duo known as 'Cannon and Ball', 09.04.1987. (Photo by Photoshot/Getty Images)
Comedy Duo, Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball, return to the Crane Fruehauf factory in Oldham, Lancashire, where they both worked as welders, 23rd October 1978. (Photo by Jack Walker/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
1982: Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball play two bungling cops in 'The Boys In Blue'. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
Star comedians Cannon and Ball headed the line-up in a special concert which raised more than ú2,000 to send a five-year-old cancer sufferer on a dream holiday. Tommy Cannon (centre) and Bobby Ball (front) are pictured with Rhianna and PC David McSweeney, the main organiser of the event at Huddersfield Town Hall. Other acts included escapologist and magician Shahid Malik, comedy impressionist Mike Doyle and singer Eve Graham, formerly with the New Seekers. Rhianna is the daughter of Huddersfield police constable Tim Jackson, 2nd December 1990. (Photo by Staff/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
Comedy double act Tommy Cannon (right) and Bobby Ball wearing police uniforms as they share a joke with actor Eric Sykes (left) on the set of the film 'The Boys in Blue', circa 1981. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Comedy duo Tommy Cannon, left, and Bobby Ball getting to grips with their special guests, The Nolans, for their summer season at Bournemouth. From left to right; Bernie Nolan, Tommy Cannon, Coleen Nolan, Maureen Nolan, Bobby Ball and Anne Nolan. (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
English comedy double act Cannon and Ball (Tommy Cannon, right, and Bobby Ball, left), who are starring in the pantomime 'Babes in the Wood', UK, 1987. (Photo by Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Comedians Tommy Cannon (L) and Bobby Ball get in the mood for their first film "Boys In Blue", outside the Dominion Theatre, London. (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball present The Cannon and Ball Christmas Spectacular Birmingham Hippodrome. 20th December 1984. (Photo by Randle/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
Comedienne Marti Caine (40) sits on the knee of her bridegroom, Ken Ives (50) TV director she met eight weeks ago, after they wed at Birmingham Register Office. Marti is currently appearing at a local theatre with comedy duo, Tommy Cannon (right) and Bobby Ball (left). (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
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Comedy partner Tommy Cannon was among mourners attending the private service, which was invitation-only due to coronavirus restrictions.

But friends and fans gathered in the street outside the church and were able to see the procession as it passed through Blackpool to the crematorium.

Linda, Denise and Maureen Nolan were among those who lined the street in the seaside resort and applauded as the cortege drove past the tower, next to the Comedy Carpet landmark,

Linda told the PA news agency the sisters had known Ball since the 1980s, when they had worked together.

She said: "We're devastated because he's been a great friend to us all. We just wanted to be here today."

Bobby Ball funeral
A memorial card (Peter Byrne/PA)

Denise said he had been a support to their sister Bernie, who died in 2013 after developing breast cancer, and would take sandwiches in to the hospice where she stayed.

She said: "Tommy must be bereft."

Maureen added: "The thing about Bobby was, he had funny bones. You couldn't know Bobby and not like him."

Some friends wore Ball's trademark red braces as they paid their respects to the star, who played Lee Mack's troublesome father Frank in the BBC One sitcom Not Going Out.

A table with a book of condolence, hand sanitiser and donation box for the Blue Skies Hospital Fund and Lowther Pavilion was set up on the pavement outside the church for fans.

Bobby Ball funeral
The funeral cortege (Peter Byrne/PA)

Tony Callison, who was among those lining the streets, said he used to drink with Ball in a local cocktail bar.

He said: "You had a good laugh when he was in because you couldn't not. He was a true gent and a funny man but he was also very helpful.

"I had a hard time last year where I needed help and Bobby was there for me as if he was a friend.

"He still had an awful lot to give, it wasn't his time."

Zoe Robertson, who owns apartments in which Ball stayed with his wife Yvonne when he moved to Lytham, said: "They were just the nicest people ever and since they've been in Lytham they've just become part of the community.

Bobby Ball funeral
The coffin of Bobby Ball (Peter Byrne/PA)

"He was one of the kindest guys. He will be so missed and it is so sad.

"He couldn't help himself from telling jokes. In the last lockdown we used to see him sitting on his bench and he would always have a joke."

Memorial cards left outside the service said Ball, who was born Robert Harper on January 28 1944 in Oldham, was a deeply loved husband and an adored grandfather and great-grandfather.

They read: "A much-loved friend to many and a hugely respected character within the local community.

"Things Bob loved... his family, friends, being creative, making people happy, entertaining, music and a chilled glass of Chardonnay!

"He will be truly missed by all who knew him."

Floral wreaths reading "Bob", "Dad" and "Grandad" were placed in the hearse with the coffin.

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