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Stars turn out for Groucho Club ‘Prince’ farewell

Hundreds followed Bernie Katz's funeral cortège through Soho, while famous faces including Sienna Miller and Noel Fielding were seen among them

29 September, 2017

Hundreds turned out in Soho for the special farewell to Bernie Katz. Picture: @nickcarpenter

STARS lined the streets on Friday as the West End bid a fond farewell to Bernie Katz, Groucho Club manager.

Hundreds of people followed his funeral cortège – the flowers bearing his nickname, the Prince of Soho – as it made its way round the streets of Soho.

The horse-drawn carriage was accompanied by a New Orleans-style brass band as it passed the Groucho and through Soho Square.

The horse-drawn carriage makes its way through Soho. Picture: @thesturge

Bernie, known for his flamboyant dress sense and larger-than-life character, was universally loved by the celebs who hung out at the famed club.

Sienna Miller, Jamie Winston, Noel Fielding and Sadie Frost were seen among the procession.

After Bernie’s death at the age of 49 last month, Stephen Fry led the tributes, saying: “Farewell Bernie Katz – five foot nothing and a heart twice the size of Soho Square.”

The New Orleans-style brass band as it passed the Groucho. Picture: @thesturge

His friend, musician and Soho campaigner Tim Arnold described him as “part Carry On, part Kray, part pantomime dame and always classic raconteur”.

Born in Kennington, south London, to a gangster father, Bernie joined the Groucho in 1994, initially as a barman and receptionist, and went on to run the club for 20 years before retiring earlier this year.

Bernie Katz, who died on August 31

The funeral service was held later at the West Chapel of Golders Green Crematorium.

The wake, of course, was held at the Groucho. Bernie was known for his love of a late-night party and guests honoured him with dancing and music well into the early hours.

A crowdfunding campaign to raise money to support his family has reached almost £30,000.

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