Reality TV star Jade Goody’s stricken family are heading for the Essex church where her funeral service is being held. Skip related content
Her mother Jackiey Budden was so distraught she had to be helped into the car taking her there.
The 51 year old cried and shook as she climbed into the vehicle at the head of the funeral procession.
She was accompanied by Jade’s husband Jack Tweed, who nodded to well-wishers.
Onlookers called out: “Be strong Jackiey – she’s looking down on you.”
Hundreds of people turned out to watch the funeral procession through the streets of south east London.
Police stopped traffic as the cortege made its way through Bermondsey – where Jade grew up – in wet, gloomy conditions.
Many well-wishers tossed flowers into the hearse as it passed by. Others stood applauding in the rain.
Earlier, her grandparents looked on as her plain white coffin was carried from F A Albin and Son and placed in a vintage Rolls Royce hearse.
Sky News Entertainment correspondent Matt Smith, at the scene, said Jade was very close to them. “They were the people she most identified with,” he said.
Flowers were laid in the street outside the funeral directors, many with warm tributes to Jade.
A staff member at F A Albin said they had “never known anything like it, not in 20 years”.
The funeral cortege is tracing the geography of Jade’s life as it makes its way to St John The Baptist Church in Buckhurst Hill, Essex.
As it travelled through Bermondsey the fleet of cars stopped at The Blue Market where Jade’s family used to have a stall.
Funeral director Barry Albin-Dyer told the crowd: “I knew you’d be like this. I knew you’d come and say goodbye like this. So from everyone in Bermondsey, goodbye.”
He then released a single white dove which was greeted by loud cheering and applause.
Flowers were collected from well-wishers and some were placed on top of the coffin.
The vicar of St James’s Church, Rev Stewart Hartley, said a prayer before leading the crowd in “three cheers for Jade”.
The cortege went on to pass through the council estate where she grew up.
After picking up Jade’s mother Jackiey, it made its way over Tower Bridge, through East London and on to the star’s former home in Upshire, Essex.
Publicist Max Clifford, who represented Jade, said the funeral would be “a very Jade Goody event”.
Jade’s sons Bobby and Freddie, aged five and four, are not expected to attend.
They are believed to have gone to Australia with their father Jeff Brazier.
Jade died at home on March 22 after losing a battle with cervical cancer. She was 27.
Mr Clifford said he and her husband Jack Tweed, 21, would be among those paying tribute at the service.
“I’m sure it will be a very emotional celebration and tribute to a very special young lady,” said Mr Clifford.
“I think Jade would want people to be laughing and crying and I’m sure they will be.”
Church officials erected crash barriers in anticipation of huge crowds.
TV hosts Richard and Judy, the Sugababes, Jamelia and Kerry Katona will be among 300 mourners inside the church.
The service will be beamed onto giant screens outside. Jade will be buried at a private service nearby.
Jade’s friend Kevin Adams, one of her bridesmaids and a school friend are also due to make tributes.