Rhodri Morgan funeral held at the Senedd, Cardiff

Lorraine Barrett leads the funeral ceremony for Rhodri Morgan

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People gathered on the steps of the Senedd to see the proceedings

The funeral for former first minister Rhodri Morgan is taking place in the Senedd in Cardiff Bay.

The ceremony, which is open to the public, is being conducted by humanist celebrant Lorraine Barrett.

She said the event was “a celebration of his life through words, poetry and music”.

Mr Morgan, who died earlier in May aged 77, served as the Welsh Assembly’s first minister from 2000 to 2009.

He was credited with bringing stability to the fledgling assembly during his years in charge.

It is understood Mr Morgan had been out cycling near his home when he died.

About 500 people are attending the service, with 360 inside and hundreds standing on the steps of the Senedd.

Former Labour leader Lord Kinnock and former acting Labour leader Harriet Harman are among Mr Morgan’s party colleagues attending, with Conservative Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns among those from other parties.

Carwyn Jones, who succeeded Mr Morgan as first minister, will be among the speakers at the funeral.

Ms Barrett is herself a former AM, having served between 1999 and 2011.

“He was the people’s first minister and this is a people’s ceremony,” she said.

“He wouldn’t want a police escort but sorry Rhodri, needs must.

“He wouldn’t want any heavy mourning. This is a celebration of his life through words, poetry and music.”

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Media captionRhodri Morgan’s grandson Efan leads mourners in a version of Calon Lan

Tributes from family members included a rendition of Calon Lan by Mr Morgan’s grandson Efan.

The former first minister’s elder brother, Prys, remembers being unimpressed as a child when he first saw the new addition to the family.

The university academic said: “When Rhodri came home from hospital, my response was chuck him over the garden wall. He can’t speak.

“My father said it is your job to teach him to speak. I think you would all agree, he was my first and my most brilliant pupil.”

Mr Morgan’s daughter Mari said: “Maybe he was the father of devolution or the nation, I don’t know, but what I do know is that he was our father and their grandfather and we are going to miss him hugely.

She described “an incredible childhood” with her “sport-obsessed” father.

“We couldn’t have a sensible conversation with him during the Olympics, his mind was elsewhere,” she said.

A service of committal will be held at the Wenallt chapel, Thornhill Crematorium, on Thursday at 14:00.

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Wales news service

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Julie Morgan (r) shared her late husband’s love of politics

Speaking in the Senedd chamber last week, Julie Morgan paid tribute to her husband, telling fellow AMs: “He loved this place.”

Mrs Morgan, who represents Cardiff North, added: “Losing Rhodri is a terrible personal blow to me and to the family… It is an aching loss.

“We’ve had, I would say, a roller coaster sort of life. It’s been rosettes, rosettes all the way.”

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