Tom Parker's widow, Kelsey, paid tribute to The Wanted star as her "soulmate" during his funeral in London on Wednesday, saying: "Marrying you was the best day of my life."

The singer died last month at the age of 33, surrounded by his family and bandmates, 17 months after being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour.

Family and close friends attended the private ceremony at St Francis of Assisi church in Petts Wood, south-east London. The horse-drawn cortège featured a photograph of Parker in a white rose-adorned frame, alongside photographs of handprints from his children, Bodhi and Aurelia.

Kelsey Parker (C), follows a horse-drawn hearse during the procession Photo: Getty Images

Parker's bandmates Jay McGuiness, Max George, Siva Kaneswaran and Nathan Sykes served as pallbearers, carrying his coffin into the church as Champagne Supernova by Oasis played to fans gathered outside around three big screens that livestreamed the service.

Outside the church, there were flowers spelling out the words "Glad You Came", the title of The Wanted's 2011 hit that went to number one in multiple countries.

During the private service, a pre-recorded message from Kelsey Parker was played in which she shared anecdotes including about how the pair first met at a nightclub before Parker shot to fame.

"From that moment, I told everyone I wanted to marry Tom Parker," she said before becoming tearful.

Tom Parker's bandmates from The Wanted were among the pallbearers Photo: Press Association

The congregation erupted into laughter when she added: "Tom told me he was going to be famous and wouldn't have time for a girlfriend, but he wouldn't leave me alone."

She added: "I will treasure every memory because life with you was never dull. You were always coming up with songs, new game shows and we all know how much you loved an invention - I bet you were gutted you never made it on Dragons' Den.

"Marrying you was the best day of my life... soulmates that's what we are."

Addressing the congregation, bandmate George said of carrying his friend's coffin: "I could actually hear him saying, 'It's about time', as he carried us for the last 12 years."

He also joked that Parker had been the only member of The Wanted to have had a "punch-up" with all his bandmates, prompting laughter from those gathered.

George added: "Everything he did he did with best intentions, even if it was a fight. He got away with it because it was Tom.

"He has left us far too early and we will miss him so much. The people outside, the people all around the world, is a credit to him - you. Rest easy mate."

Dubliner Kaneswaran, meanwhile, hailed Parker's "big Boltonian heart" before adding: "He was never afraid to stand up for what was right, no matter the risk."

The service began with a violinist-accompanied version of You Raise Me Up sung by Ollie Marland.

Parker and Marland released music as part of dance duo Lost + Found.

Handbags and Gladrags, also accompanied by a violinist, was sung by Irish singer RuthAnne Cunningham, who also delivered a rendition of Amazing Grace.

Fans gathered outside the church to pay their respects Photo: Getty Images

Parker's coffin was carried out of the church to The Wanted's hit song Gold Forever before his widow, dressed in a gold jacket, placed a single white rose inside the hearse.

Tom and Kelsey Parker married in 2018 with their daughter Aurelia born in 2019 and son Bodhi in October last year.

Parker disclosed in October 2020 that he had been diagnosed with stage four glioblastoma and had begun radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Despite his diagnosis, in the weeks before his death he had performed on stage with his bandmates as part of their much-delayed reunion tour.

Kevin George and Susan Potter, from nearby Orpington, whose eldest son Daniel died from an astrocytoma Grade 3 brain tumour at the age of 22 in 2018, were among those waiting outside the church.

Asked whether Parker's campaigning for brain tumour research in his final months had affected her, Ms Potter, who was carrying a framed picture of her son, said: "Of course it did, especially the BBC One interview that they did and the way he dealt with it. It was exactly how my son dealt with it – exactly.

"In fact, at his funeral we played Bon Jovi, It's My Life, because that kind of [message] – it's my life, I am going to live it now, I am going to live it today."

Mr George said: "It's good. It is raising the profile as well. He has raised a lot of money for research, which is what it needs.

"A lot of other cancers have almost been eradicated. They need to have more research into brain tumours."

Source: Press Association