Crowds pay last respects to TV star Jade Goody

By AFP

June 18, 2010 Updated Apr 4, 2009 at 2:11 PM EST

Thousands paid last respects Saturday to British reality TV star Jade Goody, who responded through the magic of pre-recorded video: "See you around maybe. Bye."

Goody, who died of cervical cancer on March 22 aged 27, found tabloid fame after appearing on the British edition of "Big Brother" in 2002 and transforming her 15 minutes of fame into a full-time celebrity career.

She released an autobiography, a perfume and an exercise video, and saw her notoriety go global when she subjected Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty to racist bullying on "Celebrity Big Brother" in 2007.

Huge crowds gathered Saturday outside Saint John the Baptist Church in Buckhurst Hill, northeast of London, for her funeral.

Goody's husband Jack Tweed, 21 -- the two married in February soon after her terminal diagnosis -- read a poem about her, and a gospel choir sang "Amazing Grace" as her white coffin bedecked with flowers was carried into the church.

Mourners also viewed a montage of pictures of Goody that ended with a video clip of her saying: "That's it from me. See you around maybe. Bye."

Goody's painful last months were covered in minute detail by the news media in Britain after she struck a lucrative deal for rights to her story with a magazine and television channel.

She did so, she said, to secure a better future for her sons Bobby and Freddie, aged five and four, who did not attend the funeral.

Earlier Saturday, thousands of well-wishers lined the streets and threw flowers as Goody's body was driven in a black Rolls-Royce hearse from Bermondsey, a working-class corner of south London where she grew up, to Buckhurst Hill, near where she lived.

During the procession, photographers ran alongside the hearse, jostling for the best pictures.

Floral wreathes spelling out some of the combative Goody's best-known catchphrases such as "minging" (disgusting) and "East Angular" (her mangled pronunciation of East Anglia) were also on display.

One well-wisher, Gemma Collard-Rees, 25, described Goody as "inspirational".

"This is the end of the story, it's the final chapter. We've seen her on TV all the way from 'Big Brother' through her documentaries and we just wanted to see her off," she said.

"Jade was just herself, she lived life to the full. There were no airs and graces, she always just said accept me as I am."

Goody's example has been hailed by cancer charities as well as Prime Minister Gordon Brown for prompting a surge in the increase of young women taking tests for cervical cancer.

"She achieved in seven months what doctors, politicians and medical experts can only dream of achieving," her publicist Max Clifford said Saturday.

"Her legacy is a wonderful one. Because of Jade Goody, lots of women have had their lives saved."




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