Stars of the stage and screen gather for funeral of Sheffield entertainer Bobby Knutt

Sheffield entertainer Bobby Knutt loved being centre stage - and he certainly had the last laugh at his funeral service today.

Friday, 17th November 2017, 2:23 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 10:11 am
Bobby Knutt in panto.

For the popular funnyman - who died aged 71 in September - performed his own eulogy at a packed service attended by stars of the stage and screen.

Among the famous faces at Holy Trinity Church Wentworth near Rotherham were actor John Challis, who played Boycie in Only Fools and Horses, Sheffield musician Richard Hawley and many of Bobby's co-stars on the hit ITV show Benidorm.

Bobby Knutt in Coronation Street.

The packed church perhaps became Bobby's final audience as he spoke about his life and career in a video specially put together by friends and family.

Over pictures of some of his appearances in Emmerdale, Benidorm and on stage in panto, he told how his philosophy on life was to "start off at 100mph and get faster."

Mourners laughed as he told funny stories about starting out on the South Yorkshire club circuit and one memorable performance at Hemsworth Working Men's Club when his set was interrupted by people leaving their seats to join the queue for pie and peas.

He also told how he became a comedy singer alongside his stand-up and acting career as "by no stretch could I ever be a sex symbol."

Mourners gather at the church.

Bobby also spoke about he was proud of his Sheffield roots and how he simply "used to get a kick out of making people laugh."

Leading the service, Canon Trevor Page said: "He was such a big personality and it is difficult to accept his absence."

He described Bobby as a talented comic who was the 'King of WMCs' and added: "Everyone has memories (of him) that can raise our moods and pour light into the darkness."

The congregation rose to give an emotional final round of applause as his coffin was carried out of the church while his 1974 songs 'Your My Day, Your My Night' and 'Did I Hear You Say Goodbye' played out.

Bobby Knutt in Coronation Street.

The hearse displayed floral tributes of 'Dad' and his nickname 'Knutty'.

Bobby's showbiz career spanned six decades and included numerous TV appearances, while he was also a regular fixture in pantomime in the 1980s and 90s in his home city of Sheffield.

The service took place in the same church that held the funeral of Bobby's wife Donna Hartley, a former Olympic 400m runner, who died aged 58 in 2013.

It is understood Bobby will be buried alongside her in the village cemetery - just a few miles from their former home in Elsecar.

Mourners gather at the church.

Bobby died while on holiday in the south of France. The cause of death has not yet been revealed.

It is understood he filmed scenes for the new series of Benidorm prior to his death which is believed to be out in January.

Friends are planning to host a charity night in Sheffield to celebrate Bobby's life to coincide with the new episodes.