FANS, family and friends of Freddie Starr have turned out to remember the “comic genius” at his funeral.

The Studley-based comedian, who became a household name in the 1970s, died aged 76 in Spain last month.

Attendees wore red roses for the service at Prescot Parish Church in Merseyside yesterday.

Starr’s family, including wife Sophie-Lea and daughter Tara Coleman-Starr, were at the service.

His coffin had the words “Return To Sender” engraved on one side and “Liverpool Legend” on the other.

Fans came forward to touch the coffin and take pictures of it as it arrived at the church.

Canon John Taylor welcomed the congregation and described Starr as an “outstanding talent and comic genius”.

He said the mourners who filled the church, which has a capacity of about 350, were a “testament to the affection with which Freddie was held”.

The vicar read a tribute from Starr’s daughter Ebony, in which she said: “Dear dad, rest in peace – my hero, my father.

“Ever since day one you have always been there for me and always will be.

“Even though you have left by unexpected causes you will still be strong in my heart.

“You have inspired me to be the best I can possibly be.

A tribute from his sister Brenda was also read, in which she said he was “always the joker”.

She said: “From an early age he always enjoyed playing pranks, pranks that often got him in trouble and resulted in a telling off from his father.”

Hymns The Lord is my Shepherd and Abide with Me were sung and recordings by Starr of Elvis Presley songs Don’t and Trouble were played at the start and end of the service.

After the 20-minute service the coffin was brought out and fans crowded round the hearse. The family then went to a private burial.

The repatriation and burial were paid for by funeral director Michael Fogg after fears the comedian would have a pauper’s funeral.

Starr, who died of heart disease, was known by fans for his eccentric and often unpredictable behaviour, rising to national prominence after appearing on Opportunity Knocks.

His later years were marred by allegations of historic sexual assault and an ultimately unsuccessful defamation lawsuit that cost him a rumoured £1 million.