A CHURCH was filled with laughter as more than 200 people gathered to celebrate the life of actress Dora Bryan at her funeral.

St George's Church in Brighton, East Sussex, was adorned with black-and-white photographs of the actress and a large screen at the front of the church displayed a slideshow of pictures of Bryan throughout her career.

Bryan, who was known for roles in TV's Last Of The Summer Wine and classic British movies like A Taste Of Honey, died at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton, on July 23, aged 91.

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Before the service, her son William Lawton, said: "She was a fantastic woman, a fantastic mother and loved by all."

Mourners included actor Christopher Biggins who described her as an "exceptional woman".

Outside the church he told The Press Association: "She was fantastic. A wonderful woman, a wonderful mother.

"She was a one-off. She was as mad as a snake, she was loved and she was a very special woman.

"It's not often you get in our business a star who's so nice and is a true star.

"She really loved people and they really loved her."

Bryan's coffin was carried into the church to her voice singing Hello, Dolly! from the hit musical of the same name in which she starred.

People sang along and clapped and cheered before Reverend Andrew Manson-Brailsford began the service with the hymn Jerusalem, which had also been sung at Bryan's husband Bill Lawton's funeral in 2008.