Tickle sticks appeared across Liverpool as the city said a final farewell him.
The props were made famous by the much-loved Christian comedian, who died earlier this month aged 90, and were placed on landmarks across the area.
Applause rang out as Sir Ken Dodd’s funeral cortege arrived at the Anglican Cathedral for the start of the service.
A horse-drawn carriage bore his wooden casket, with a bouquet of yellow sunflowers atop and a tribute to one of his trademark Diddymen alongside.
A band played melancholy ragtime jazz music before six pall bearers carried the coffin inside the cathedral with hundreds inside preparing to pay a final farewell.
As Sir Ken’s casket was carried inside the cathedral hundreds of mourners gathered under a big screen outside to watch as the service began, with opening prayers led by Canon Myles Davies, acting Dean of Liverpool.
Along with the comedian’s fans a Who’s Who of Liverpool comedians and celebrities have come to pay their last respects including, Jimmy Tarbuck, Les Dennis, Tom O’Connor and Stan Boardman.
Jimmy Tarbuck, who spoke before reading a passage based on Psalm 139, said: “What a perfect venue for our city’s hero, perhaps our city’s greatest hero and I’m pleased for Ken there’s yet another full house.”
He said he had met Sir Ken 57 years ago and “just fell in love with him”.
He added: “He sang Happiness because he gave happiness.”
He told the congregation it was an “honour” and a “joy” to watch Sir Ken.
He said: “He set a standard, ladies and gentlemen, which no one has remotely approached since.”
Jimmy Cricket paid tribute to Sir Ken before he gave a reading from St John’s gospel.
He described him as “one of the most different, original, innovative and gifted comedians”.
He said: “We enjoyed him on the radio and the television but the live shows were special.
“From the moment he went on with his tickling sticks he created magic.”
He added: “Ken always said his gift, his talents, were from God and comedians like Ken, they only come once in a lifetime.
“We thank God today that he came during our lifetime.”
In an address, acting dean of Liverpool Canon Myles Davies said: “Ken would be so pleased, and probably humbled too, by the way his home city and people from all over poured out their tributes to him in these last weeks.”
He said the cathedral was “crowded out”, with many more watching the service outside.
Canon Davies said: “What a wonderful tribute to someone who has spent his life persuading us all to exercise our chuckle muscles.”
Prayers were led by the Rev Julia Jesson, the vicar of St John the Evangelist Church in Knotty Ash, where Sir Ken was a member of the congregation.
A recording of the comedian singing Absent Friends was played.
Diddymen followed Sir Ken’s coffin as it was carried out of the cathedral to applause at the end of the service, which lasted one hour and 45 minutes.
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Hundreds of mourners gathered on Wednesday at Liverpool Cathedral to pay their last respect to Sir Ken Dodd.
Written by: Miriam Emenike
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