TV pals mourn ventriloquist Keith Harris in Blackpool

THE funeral of ventriloquist Keith Harris, who found fame with his puppet duck, Orville, was taking place today.

The coffin of Keith Harris is carried into Sacred Heart RC Church in Blackpool

Harris, 67, entertained generations of children with his sidekick Orville, a bright green duck who wore a nappy and spoke in a high-pitched voice.

His other popular puppet was Cuddles the monkey whose catchphrase was ‘I Hate That Duck!’.

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At the height of his fame, he was a regular on Saturday night television and put on private performances at birthday parties for Prince William and his brother Harry.

His 1982 single with Orville, I Wish I Could Fly, was a top five hit and sold more than 400,000 copies.

Harris, who married four times and had three children, was first diagnosed with cancer in 2013 and became ill again in January.

He died in hospital in Blackpool on April 28.

Comedian Jimmy Cricket and former Coronation Street star Ken Morley were among those at a memorial service at Sacred Heart RC Church in Blackpool.

Jimmy Cricket arrives at the funeral of Keith Harris at Sacred Heart RC Church in Blackpool
A floral tribute from the Nolan sisters inside a hearse near the Sacred Heart RC Church in Blackpool
Keith Harris has died at 67.
File photo dated 12/04/83 of ventriloquist Keith Harris and his puppet Orville feeding a goose in St James's Park, London, as Keith Harris, famous for his act with his puppet duck Orville, died today aged 67, his agent said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday April 28, 2015. See PA story DEATH Harris. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire