The coffin has arrived at the funeral of Tom Parker, carried by his bandmates from The Wanted, as Champagne Supernova by Oasis played to fans gathered outside.
Jay McGuiness, Max George, Siva Kaneswaran and Nathan Sykes served as pallbearers, and the singer’s widow Kelsey was among the procession into St Francis of Assisi church in Petts Wood, south-east London.
Liam Payne, from One Direction, was given a round of applause by fans who stood in silence waiting for the private service to be live-streamed on to three large screens.
Fans of the boy band huddled around the screens in silence, many clutching tissues and crying.
Other pallbearers carefully removed multicoloured “Daddy” flowers from the horse-drawn carriage, taking them inside the church before removing a heart-shaped red rose piece spelling “Tom” from the hearse.
A pre-recorded message from Kelsey was played during the service, in which she shared anecdotes about how the couple first met at a nightclub before Parker shot to fame.
“From that moment I told everyone I wanted to marry Tom Parker,” she said before becoming tearful.
The congregation erupted into laughter as she said: “Tom told me he was going to be famous and wouldn’t have time for a girlfriend, but he wouldn’t leave me alone.”
She added: “I will treasure every memory because life with you was never dull. You were always coming up with songs, new game shows, and we all know how much you loved an invention – I bet you were gutted you never made it on Dragons’ Den.
“Marrying you was the best day of my life … soulmates, that’s what we are.”
Addressing the congregation, George said of carrying his friend’s coffin: “I could actually hear him saying ‘It’s about time’, as he carried us for the last 12 years.”
He also joked that Parker had been the only member of The Wanted to have had a “punch-up” with all his bandmates, prompting laughter from attendees.
The singer added: “Everything he did he did with best intentions, even if it was a fight, he got away with it because it was Tom.
“I could say so much about Tom. One thing I will always remember is his laugh. He loves laughing at people and we experienced that every day.
“He has left us far too early and we will miss him so much. The people outside, the people all around the world, is a credit to him you. Rest easy mate.”
Kaneswaran, meanwhile, hailed Parker’s “big Boltonian heart” before adding: “He was never afraid to stand up for what was right, no matter the risk.”
Parker died last month at the age of 33, surrounded by his family and bandmates, 17 months after being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour.
Before the procession through Petts Wood, family and close friends of the star gathered in the Sovereign Of The Seas pub opposite the funeral parlour.
Fans dressed in black gathered along the high street to pay their respects before falling silent as his coffin was placed into the horse-drawn carriage.
A photograph of Parker in a white rose-adorned frame was placed inside the carriage, alongside photographs of handprints from his children, Bodhi and Aurelia.
Receptionist Chloe Mayne, 25, from Plumstead, a self-professed “super-fan” of the late singer, told the PA news agency: “It was amazing seeing him (perform live). It’s horrible that I saw him at the O2 and then two weeks later he died.
“The day he died it really hit me. To be fair I don’t think anyone was expecting it that quickly, I thought he’d have at least another Christmas and maybe next year.
Ms Mayne said she was 15 when she became a fan of The Wanted and had attended around 25 of the band’s concerts, adding: “He was my childhood, really.”
Kevin George and Susan Potter, from Orpington, whose eldest son Daniel died from an astrocytoma grade three brain tumour at the age of 22 in 2018, were among those waiting outside the church.
Asked whether Parker’s campaigning for brain tumour research in his final months had affected her, Ms Potter, who was carrying a framed picture of her son, said: “Of course it did, especially the BBC One interview that they did and the way he dealt with it. It was exactly how my son dealt with it – exactly.
“In fact, at his funeral we played Bon Jovi, It’s My Life, because that kind of (message) – it’s my life, I am going to live it now, I am going to live it today.”
Parker disclosed in October 2020 that he had been diagnosed with stage four glioblastoma and had begun radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
Despite his diagnosis, in the weeks before his death he had performed on stage with his bandmates as part of their much-delayed reunion tour.