Cilla Black was a fellow “Scottie Roader” who shared their community’s faith and wicked sense of humour, Bishop Thomas Williams said during her funeral mass.
In a homily preached at St Mary’s Church, the auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool told how the entertainer had shared his pride in the “community of survivors” they both came from.
The Right Reverend Thomas Williams said: “My role is not to talk about Cilla, the person we all loved and grieve for, but to talk about why we are here in this beautiful church – I want to talk about her faith.
“There is no getting away from the fact that the death of a loved one, particularly of a mother and a ‘typical Liverpool Mother’ at that, can leave us bereft and totally isolated.
“That is why I chose that Gospel, the Road to Emmaus. It doesn’t give us answers, but it does give us a way of understanding; and that ‘Road’ journey will take most of us a lifetime: a ‘long and winding road’.”
In pictures: Cilla’s Scotland Road – then and now
Talking about their shared upbringing, he said: “Cilla and I come from the same neighbourhood – both ‘Scotty Roaders’.
“I didn’t know her, but I knew many of the characters and people that she knew and loved.
“It was a community of survivors, particularly the strong women.
“They were all strong individuals, but each was blessed with an innate determination and, opinionated but also good listeners – passionate and committed, but with ‘tongues that could take tar off walls’. “No fools, but with hearts of gold and sentimental to a fault. Honest and generous, but you never crossed them.
“And over and above all that they had a fierce pride, a strong Faith and a wicked sense of humour.
“That’s why I said at the beginning of our mass, and with confidence, that Cilla – the person and mother – had Five ‘F’ words in her life: family, friends, football and fun, and the word that gave meaning to them all was faith, a happy and tough upbringing.
“A faith that gave her confidence in crisis. A faith that kept her afloat, even when she clung to it for dear life.
“Cilla’s ‘Road to Emmaus’ has not been an easy one, despite all the fame and glamour, but she got there in the end.”
Speaking to her sons, Bishop Williams said: “May your fond memories of your mum sustain and strengthen you. May your own faith grow stronger, but most of all, may you retain that down to earth sense of balance and humour.”