It was an emotional time on This Morning as Phillip and Holly wished their friend and colleague farewell

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It was an emotional instalment of This Morning on Wednesday as Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby headed to Sunderland to broadcast live from the funeral of Denise Robertson.

Phillip was seen fighting back tears as the presenting duo paid tribute to the show’s late agony aunt, who died earlier this month following a battle with cancer.

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Hundreds of people gathered at Sunderland Minster to pay their last respects to Denise, who regularly appeared on the ITV show since its launch in 1988.

Reporting from both outside and inside the church, Phillip and Holly spoke with the Reverend conducting the funeral and the head of a charity Denise worked tireless for about how loved she was and her ‘dedicated’ spirit.

The pair also fondly recalled happy memories and uplifting stories about the This Morning stalwart.

Speaking about the local people he had met since arriving in Sunderland the day before, Phillip said: ‘Everyone’s saying, ‘We’re so sorry you’re here under these circumstances.We loved her, we were so proud of her.’

‘There’s a banner just over that restauarant over there for their ‘Sunderland Rose’,’ he added, visibly touched by the gesture.

Describing her as a ‘homing pigeon’ because she always returned to Sunderland, Phillip also recalled how Denise had spent hours travelling between the This Morning studios in London and her beloved hometown, with Holly revealing that the agony aunt even had her own unofficial seat on the train!

‘Denise had her own seat on the train, it wasn’t an official thing. She just had her own seat sat there with her  gin and tonic waiting for her, and that would be her regular seat.’ she explained.

Fellow This Morning stars Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes were attended the funeral, with Eamonn comparing Denise to royalty, saying: ‘The very fact that so many people have turned out here today, it’s almost like a royal send-off, and so it should be for her.’

Over on Twitter, This Morning’s viewers responded to the emotional live broadcast, paying their own respects to Denise.

https://twitter.com/terry_settle/status/720212008608665600

https://twitter.com/MrLiamCronin/status/720212827500318720

RIP Denise, you will be missed.