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Ready for the last Holmes show

By Kieran Campbell

* Visit nzherald.co.nz at 12.45pm for a live stream of Paul Holmes' funeral service.

Sir Paul Holmes' children are expected to pay tribute to their father at his funeral today in Parnell, where organisers are preparing for more than a thousand mourners to gather.

Holy Trinity Cathedral leaders would not say yesterday who will speak at the service but it is understood his adult children, Millie Elder and Reuben Holmes, are planning to talk about their dad.

The 1pm funeral is expected to be the largest hosted by the cathedral since Sir Edmund Hillary was farewelled in 2008.

Ann Mellor, a friend of Sir Paul's for 10 years who will lead the ceremony with the cathedral's dean, Jo Kelly-Moore, said her advice to those paying tribute was to speak from the heart.

"I think you have to forget the audience and talk from your heart and talk about Paul as he was to you.

"I think that he loved his family and they loved him, and so that will certainly come up in the service.

"Even though the cathedral will be such a public space ... given his celebrity status, the family will still be given and allowed by us and those present the privacy of their own mourning."

Dignitaries will sit alongside family members in the cathedral, which has hosted the funerals of many high-profile New Zealanders.

Four screens will be set up inside and a large screen will be in the courtyard for crowds that cannot fit inside the 1100-seat cathedral.

The 90-minute service will be broadcast live on Newstalk ZB.

Prime Minister John Key has offered his apologies for not being able to attend the funeral; instead he will welcome Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard to New Zealand when she arrives in Queenstown later today.

Cabinet minister Gerry Brownlee will represent the Government at the funeral, and Labour leader David Shearer and Auckland Mayor Len Brown will also be present.

There will be a large contingent of Paralympians, in acknowledgment of Sir Paul's contribution to Paralympics New Zealand, including swimmer Duane Kale, who is expected to speak during the service.

Mourners will include friends and colleagues from media organisations including Newstalk ZB, APN News and Media, TVNZ, RadioLive and Metro magazine.

There will also be allocated seating for members of charities and community groups Sir Paul helped, such as the Starship children's hospital, the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust and the Stellar Trust.

Ms Mellor said she felt honoured to have been invited by the family to help officiate today.

"I think there will be so many people from different aspects of his life that covered such a broad spectrum.

"I hope the service itself will be able to touch their hearts," she said.

"This will be a place where they can remember him and give thanks for what he had given them. That's what we hope to achieve.

"Without a doubt [people will be moved] - they're moved by their grief but also the other aspects of him that they might not know."

Dean Kelly-Moore said she expected the cathedral to be "full to overflowing".

- APNZ

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