Former prime minister Sir Tony Blair, musician Sir Elton John and Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer were among the high-profile mourners attending the funeral of Derek Draper, the husband of TV presenter Kate Garraway.
Garraway, 56, wearing a long black coat and pearl necklace, was joined by the couple’s children, Darcey and Billy, at the Church of St Mary The Virgin in Primrose Hill, north-west London, on Friday.
Also arriving for the service were former Labour MPs Ed Balls – who now works as a GMB presenter – Lord Mandelson and Tristram Hunt, as well as shadow climate change secretary Ed Miliband, Sir Tony’s wife Cherie Blair and former Number 10 director of communications Alastair Campbell.
Sir Elton, who attended the funeral with his husband David Furnish, had previously invited Draper and Garraway to be guests of honour at his Farewell Yellow Brick Road concert at London’s O2 Arena last year.
Garraway told her Smooth Radio listeners in April 2023 that Sir Elton had been “so supportive” of her family since her husband fell ill.
Former political lobbyist-turned-psychologist Draper married Garraway at the same church in September 2005.
Draper fell seriously ill during the early part of the pandemic in March 2020 and spent 13 months in hospital before he was discharged.
Draper was admitted to hospital in December after suffering a heart attack.
He died on January 3 aged 56 after suffering long-lasting symptoms from coronavirus.
Garraway announced her husband’s death on Instagram, with a post saying: “As some of you may know, he has been critically ill following a cardiac arrest in early December which, because of the damage inflicted by Covid in March 2020, led to further complications.”
His contribution to politics and New Labour
Draper was a former researcher for Lord Peter Mandelson and was a key figure in the early years of New Labour in the 1990s.
Draper set up the Progress organisation with Liam Byrne, who went on to become a Labour MP, and was also an author.
He wrote the book Blair’s Hundred Days which chronicled some of Sir Tony’s first year as prime minister, along with Life Support: A Survival Guide For The Modern Soul.
A sea of famous faces flooded the procession.
Garraway, a Good Morning Britain (GMB) presenter, also followed the coffin and greeted guests ahead of her husband being laid to rest.
GMB stars Charlotte Hawkins, Ben Shephard, Richard Madeley, Alex Beresford, Rob Rinder, Susanna Reid, Sean Fletcher and Richard Arnold also attended the funeral.
TV presenter Fiona Phillips and This Morning editor Martin Frizell, who both worked on the former ITV morning programme GMTV, and former GMB star Piers Morgan were also in attendance.
Myleene Klass, who has previously stepped in to host Garraway’s radio show, along with journalist Robert Peston, talent manager Jonathan Shalit, radio presenter Roman Kemp, former Sky News political editor Adam Boulton and former political editor of GMTV and ex-Labour MP Gloria De Piero also headed into the church.
Garraway, a former GMTV presenter, often provided health updates about her husband on the ITV morning programme and fronted two documentaries on the channel about how the family’s life had changed following his illness.