News ShopperHundreds line streets for Carson (From News Shopper)

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Hundreds line streets for Carson

News Shopper: The coffin of comedian Frank Carson is carried into his funeral Mass at St Patrick's Church in Belfast The coffin of comedian Frank Carson is carried into his funeral Mass at St Patrick's Church in Belfast

Hundreds of people have lined the streets to pay tribute to "prime minister of fun" Frank Carson at his funeral Mass in Belfast.

Family and friends of the comic, 85, famed for one-liners including "it's a cracker" and beloved to millions who saw him on television packed St Patrick's Catholic Church for the service in the same building where he was married 62 years ago.

Wife Ruth and his three children led mourners from around the world.

Bishop Edward Daly told them: "Frank made millions of people smile and laugh. He brightened up their lives. He was a prime minister of fun. That was his mission in life."

Television presenter Eamonn Holmes said he was at the funeral as a family friend and neighbour from the earliest years. He said: "He is one of the most famous sons of Ulster, that sums up what he means to everybody in Northern Ireland."

Comedian Stan Boardman and snooker player Dennis Taylor were among mourners. Dana, former Irish MEP, comedian Roy Walker and boxer Barry McGuigan were also present.

Boardman said: "Frank was a nice man, whenever he went into the room, even before he came into the room, he was approachable, he would go over and talk to people.

"He was a sort of uncle, everybody used to call him Uncle Frank. He did not offend anybody, his gags were brilliant and he was a funny man."

Taylor remembered a flight to Bangkok with Carson and Boardman for charity work. He said: "Sitting on a flight for 14 hours between Stan Boardman and Frank Carson, that is an experience I will never forget."

The road outside the working-class district where Carson was brought up was closed as the cortege proceeded slowly to the church. Close family pulled up first, faces drawn, and proceeded solemnly into the church, the children carrying flowers. Then followed the hearse, white flowers bearing the message GAGA.

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