Vicky Shaw Famous faces from the worlds of showbusiness and politics gathered to celebrate the life of "national institution" Sir Clement Freud.

U2 frontman Bono, broadcaster Stephen Fry and Prime Minister Gordon Brown were among those at the writer, broadcaster and former Liberal MP's funeral, held on what would have been his 85th birthday.

Sir Clement was rector of Dundee University more than 30 years ago, which is when Gordon Brown got to know him, and between 2002-2005 he was rector of St Andrews University.

Comedians Paul Merton, Graham Norton and Mel Smith, politician Lord Steel and performer Uri Geller also joined Sir Clement's famous family at the laughter-filled service at St Bride's, known for its links with the media.

Broadcaster Alan Yentob, presenter Claudia Winkleman, shadow chancellor George Osborne, actors David Morrissey, Nicholas Parsons and Doreen Mantle, screenwriter Richard Curtis and director Paul Greengrass were also at the church off Fleet Street in central London yesterday.

Addressing the congregation, the Prime Minister said of Sir Clement: "He was not only a national treasure but became within his own right a national institution.

"Clement Freud had the greatest asset of all, a wonderful wife, Jill, and a wonderful family that have done so much for our national life."

He told mourners he first met Sir Clement in 1974 when both were rectors of Scottish universities - Mr Brown at Edinburgh and Sir Clement at Dundee.

The Prime Minister, who was accompanied by his wife, Sarah, also gave a reading from The Wedding at Cana, which he said was, "not surprisingly", about food and wine.

Sir Clement, who died at his desk at home in London on April 15, was a grandson of the ground-breaking psychologist Sigmund Freud. His brother is the painter Lucian Freud.

His five children include PR businessman Matthew Freud, married to Elisabeth Murdoch, and TV presenter Emma Freud, while his niece is the writer Esther Freud.

Sir Clement's widow, Lady Freud, who read If I Should Die by Joyce Grenfell, told the congregation: "He would be amazed at how many of you have turned up, and you are all welcome."

Paying tribute to his father, Matthew Freud said: "I think my dad would have wanted me to talk about his family.

"He had a very clear and personal view of the family he and my mother would create.

"He celebrated our successes and he mitigated our failures with the love of a father and the pride of a patriarch.

"To me and my family he was the most important person in the whole world and for all that he was, we will miss him."

Mr Freud also spoke of his father's passion for writing, food, gambling and politics.

Looking back on Sir Clement's 55 years as a working journalist, he said: "If words were his craft, then eating was his purpose cooking and eating were in almost every article."

Memories of his father in the kitchen would endure forever, he said, as would "the taste of the legendary hot pate that we were forced to eat".

Sir Clement visited Epsom races recently, his son noted, adding: "We are grateful to the honesty of the undertakers who returned the £2000 found in his suit pocket."

Emma Freud also took part in the service, with a rendition of I'll Be Seeing You.

Sir Clement's coffin was covered with purple and white flowers and a small teddy bear perched on top, while the congregation sang hymns including I Vow to Thee My Country, Amazing Grace, and He Who Would Valiant Be.