Hundreds of friends and colleagues, including members of the Coronation Street cast, joined members of Betty Driver’s family at the actress’s funeral on Saturday.
Betty, who played barmaid Betty Williams (Turpin) in the soap for 42 years, died last Saturday aged 91 after six weeks in hospital.
Former colleagues from her days as a big band singer also attended the service at St Ann’s Church in central Manchester, while members of the public came to watch the service which was shown on a big screen erected outside.
Betty’s Corrie co-star Helen Worth was among those who paid tribute to Betty at the funeral.
“She was the ultimate professional, knew everything there was to know about showbiz, including how to steal a scene without words – just a perfect look, timed to perfection, that lit up the screen,” she said.
Betty, who found fame as a singer before joining the soap, originally auditioned for the role of Hilda Ogden in the soap in 1964 but did not join the cast until five years later when she was offered the chance to play Betty.
The character went on to become the longest-serving barmaid in the history of the Rovers Return, and was also renowned for her infamous lunchtime ‘hot pot’.
The actress appeared in more than 2,800 episodes of the show and insisted at 2010’s 50th anniversary celebrations that she would never retire.
“I love working,” she said. “I can’t retire, I never will.”
After news of her death was announced her co-stars were quick to pay tribute to the actress.
“We laughed together, we cried together and never once had a cross word. She was a totally professional actress. A true icon and legend, and a very dear friend,” said Julie Goodyear, who played Bet Lynch.
William Roache – who plays Ken Barlow – also said, “I loved Betty dearly, she was not only a colleague, she was a friend and godmother to my son James. She will be missed in the Street but she will be missed more so as a warm and loving person.”