Hundreds of mourners attended the celebration of his life in his beloved home town. The famously-outspoken politician, who served the town as MP for 20 years, planned the celebration in a nursing home during his final weeks.
His friend Lord Alton said he received a letter from Sir Cyril after his death telling him he must read the poem Death Is Nothing At All. "He was a brilliant political organiser," he told the congregation at Rochdale Town Hall, after reading the Canon Henry Scott Holland poem. He was a remarkable man, a wonderful man, a great friend and we shall all miss him greatly."