Traditional exit for Dury, pop star and people's poet

A Traditional pair of black-plumed horses and carriage led the funeral cortege yesterday for Ian Dury, the unlikely chart star and people's poet.

The procession started in Belsize Park, north London, picking up mourners from his family home in Hampstead and passing half a mile from Kilburn High Road, which gave its name to his first band.

The bay horses drew the glass-sided carriage containing the singer's coffin, draped in a black cloth. Dury died last week aged 57, after a long battle with cancer. His close friends from the group Madness were among the pallbearers.

Dury was one of the group's inspirations and he teamed up with them on their last album for the song "Drip Fed Fred".

Mourners at Golders Green crematorium included the Cabinet Officer Minister Mo Mowlam, a fan who had been to see Dury in concert just weeks before his death.

Robbie Williams, tanned but grim-faced, was there. He became friendly with Dury as they worked as ambassadors for the charity Unicef, including a mission to Sri Lanka in 1998.

Other mourners included DJ Annie Nightingale, who championed the singer in the late Seventies. Gravel-voiced Dury had a string of hits, including the number one, "Hit Me with your Rhythm Stick", but his chart placings had slipped by the Eighties.

But he continued to record and branched into acting for film and TV as well as doing voice-overs.

Around 250 mourners packed the crematorium including his second wife, Sophy Tilson and their two young children, Bill and Albert. His grown-up children, Jemima and Baxter, from his first marriage to Betty were also there.

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