'Coronation Street' star Bill Roache gave his thanks yesterday for the messages of support sent following the death of his wife Sara.

The 76-year-old soap veteran paid tribute to his "perfect wife" during her memorial service on Tuesday.

More than 250 people including fellow Corrie actors and stars from the worlds of sport, politics and showbusiness gathered at St Bartholomew's Church in Wilmslow, Cheshire to pay their respects to the 58-year-old.

Yesterday Roache said the couple's children William and Verity had drawn "great comfort and strength" from the dozens of cards and messages sent by well-wishers.

"We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been in touch to express their condolences and offer their support," he said.

"The memorial service was such a memorable day and exactly what we wanted it to be - a celebration of Sara's life. The feeling of love and affection in the church was amazing.

"Knowing that so many people were touched by Sara's death and have offered their help and support means a great deal. Thank you."

Mrs Roache died unexpectedly at the couple's home on February 7, but the cause of death has not been released.

Delivering the eulogy Roache, who has played Ken Barlow in the soap for nearly 50 years recalled meeting the "beautiful, vibrant girl" 35 years ago, saying she became a perfect wife and mother.

He applauded her selflessness, saying she ran the family home and though a successful actress - appearing in Corrie and a host of other productions - she was most successful as a wife and mother.

He said he was sure she had gone to a "wonderful home" to join their daughter Edwina who died in 1984, aged just 18 months, from a chest infection.

Filming on Coronation Street was suspended on Tuesday for the first time in 10 years for cast and crew members to attend the memorial.