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'Sir Paul, rest easy, God knows you've earned it'

Published: 5:20AM Friday February 08, 2013 Source: ONE News

Sir Paul Holmes' beloved children, Millie Elder-Holmes and Reuben Holmes, tearfully farewelled their father at his funeral in Auckland today.

The Auckland Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Parnell reached capacity at 1pm with thousands of family, friends, members of Parliament, Jim Bolger, Auckland Mayor Len Brown, former All Black Jonah Lomu, former TVNZ colleagues, celebrities, school children and members of the public all attending his funeral.

Tears, tributes and laughter flowed as the greatest broadcaster of our age was described as "charming, courageous, a bit mad, and a cheeky little whitey".

Millie wiped away tears and quoted Sir Paul as saying: "Remember this - love always wins, it might take longer than evil and hatred, resentment and envy, but love always wins."

"Value yourself; there is only one of you. Don't worry if you feel different from everyone else, we're all different."

"Good luck to you all, but make your own luck. If you can dream it, begin it."

Reuben comforted his sister and quoted cult hero Bill Hicks' "It's just a ride" to farewell his father.

'Cheeky little whitey'

"With the sudden lack of future comes the silence, that achingly awful vacuum, when once there was so much now there is nothing, that compelling, gifted, coherent one who spoke and wrote to us, and for us, and about us, has left us," former colleague John Hawkesby said in a eulogy today.

"He saw it coming and so did we, 62 is way too young, but Sir Paul was never going to exit stage left quietly, his world was never one of mute submission.

"Dear God please not 40 years of 9 to 5, a gold watch, a set of wine goblets and an engraved silver tray for a job well done.

"A life not born of position, privilege or power but rather the gentle ordinariness of a small provincial town and a very loving family, quintessential decent working class New Zealand."

Hawkesby said Holmes had written a column about his derailed career, and it upset and enraged him. Sir Paul later apologised on stage at an event.

"I got emotional, we hugged" said Hawkesby. He said he realised he was in the presence of a "big, kind man", and they subsequently became great friends.

He said Sir Paul would have been very pleased to see the cathedral overflowing today.

"He was not saint, not even close, he would not expect or wish to be canonised..on second thoughts..he would."

Hawkesby said Sir Paul did not want people to feel sorry for him, he had a life well lived.

"Go well Sir Paul, rest easy, God knows you've earned it, thanks for the memories and the big big heart, so well you clever, sharp, charming, courageous, cheeky little whitey."

'Paul changed lives'

Duane Kale from Paralympics New Zealand said "today marks the close of the final chapter of a truly great New Zealander".

He said Sir Paul was "incredibly down to earth", and "oozed charm".

"Obsession, commitment - call it what you will, no one can question Paul's passion and support."

"Paul changed lives, he inspired many, he changed perceptions and his legacy will drive more Paralympics success into the future," he said.

Bevan, a close friend of Sir Paul, said he was an "extraordinary man" who had "an extraordinary life".

"Paul's capacity to love knew no limits." He said this love was shown in his unfolding relationship with Millie.

Bevan said Sir Paul's "time abroad made him proud to be a Kiwi".

"Half the time it seemed that Paul was the news and happily and shamelessly he milked it," Bevan said.

'Sleep well my friend'

Another close friend and former Labour Party president, Mike Williams said they had left one of the screws on Sir Paul's coffin a little loose to pay tribute to his character.

In the austere hushed sanctuary of the cathedral, he talked of a man with a mad outrageous streak.

"In 1999, when i met him in the foyer of a Wellington hotel, after he'd conducted a leaders' debate he was loudly and publicly denouncing the quality of the pornography on offer."

Williams bid Sir Paul goodbye saying: "Sleep well my friend. Grief is the price we pay for love."

Former Newstalk ZB boss and friend Bill Francis said Sir Paul wrote brilliantly and delivered on air with the panache of a natural born actor."He worked harder than anyone I knew."

He said Sir Paul was not a saint, but he was always kind, lovable and had an enormous sense of loyalty.

"As broadcasters we owe Lady Deborah, Millie, Reuben, Ken, Vicki and Hinemoa an enormous sense of gratitude for allowing us to have so much of their man, along with you we will always marvel how lucky we were to be part of his life."

Pale Blue Eyes by Velvet Underground played after the eulogies with a slideshow of images of Sir Paul. Dame Malvina Major then sung Oh My Beloved Father.

Sir Paul's brother Ken Holmes, Millie, Reuben, friends Peter Bevan, Mike Williams and Paul Watkinson carried Sir Paul's coffin out of the cathedral. Lady Deborah Holmes followed the coffin.

A rousing haka was performed by Karamu High School from Hastings outside the cathedral. Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust formed the Guard of Honour.

A hearse carried Sir Paul's casket away, which was covered in white flowers and insignia from his New Year's honours ceremony, as bagpipes were played and a haka performed.

The broadcasting legend died at his Hawke's Bay home last Friday after a battle with prostate cancer and heart problems. He was 62.

The funeral was followed by a private family cremation.

Mourners travel far and wide

Die hard Sir Paul fans, including many had not met him, attended his funeral today.

They came because they were "his people".

One fan said they had listened "on radio to him on important issues and he was the one who could answer my questions".

"For fifteen or 16 years I watched Paul Holmes every evening and you kinda felt like you knew him even though you really didn't," another mourner said.

And another fan said Sir Paul "called a spade a spade and that's what I liked, and he didn't mind taking the mickey out of himself".
One mourner told ONE News he and his partner had travelled from Christchurch to attend today's service.

"We thought, with respect, Paul's been entertaining and trying to do things for the nation, for many different people, and we thought this is going to be something very, very special."

Very Reverend Jo Kelly-Moore said Lady Deborah Holmes, Millie and Reuben, and Ken and Vicki thanked everyone for the care and support and for being at the funeral today.

In acknowledgement of the charities which Sir Paul supported, collections were made for the Paralympics New Zealand, Cranford Hospice Hastings and Prostate Cancer Foundation at the rear of the cathedral.

The broadcaster's brother, Ken Holmes, earlier said the public support was overwhelming in the wake of his brother's death.

Sir Paul's poor health forced him to end his long broadcasting career in December.

Since the news of Sir Paul's passing tributes have been flowing in from the public.

Leave your tributes to Sir Paul Holmes here .