Charles Kennedy funeral: Mourners gather to pay tribute to former Liberal Democrat leader

Service will be held in Caol, Fort William in Scotland

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The Independent Online

Charles Kennedy’s funeral will take place later today.

A service remembering the late Liberal Democrat policitian, whose death on 1 June was mourned by friends and colleagues across the political spectrum, will be held at 12pm today.

Kennedy, who was just 55 at the time of his death, suffered a major haemorrhage at his home in Fort William following a life-long battle with alcoholism.

Mourners gathered today at St John's Roman Catholic Church in Caol, before a burial service at Clunes, Achnacarry.

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Danny Alexander and Nick Clegg

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Alastair Campbell and his partner Fiona Millar

The former leader of the Liberal Democrats, Kennedy served as a Highland MP for 32 years before losing his Scottish seat of Ross, Cromarty and Skye in the last election.

"This will be an opportunity for Charles' family and friends, the local community he loved and served for so long, as well as his political friends to bid him a fond farewell,” his family said in a statement earlier this week.

Large numbers of mourners are expected at the service, Kennedy’s family, including his ex-wife Sarah and the couple’s 10-year-old son Donald, said. They plan to pipe music from the service outside for those unable to fit inside the church.

Among the first to arrive at the service were former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell, as well as Lib Dem colleagues Danny Alexander and former leader Nick Clegg. Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown was in attendance.

Liberal Democrat Sir Menzies Campbell, former Liberal leader Lord David Steel, Lib Dem politician Malcolm Bruce and Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy also attended.

PM David Cameron and his wife Samatha sent a floral tribute.

Monsignor James MacNeil, Administrator of the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles, who will be the principal celebrant said people will remember Kennedy as “the big human being who trusted god.”

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