Winnie Johnson funeral takes place in Manchester

The BBC's Ed Thomas says Winnie's family remembered her struggle, but also the "smile on her face, and love in her heart"

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The funeral of Winnie Johnson, mother of Moors murder victim Keith Bennett, has taken place at a Manchester church.

Mrs Johnson, 78, died on 18 August without being able to fulfil her last wish of giving her son a proper burial.

After being diagnosed with cancer last year, Mrs Johnson appealed again to killer Ian Brady to reveal the location of Keith's body, without success.

More than 200 people attended the service, held at St Chrysostom's Church, Victoria Park.

The hearse included floral tributes reading 'Gran' and 'Mam', with a smiling photo of Winnie on top of the coffin.

Winnie Johnson Winnie Johnson never gave up hope of finding her son

A book of condolence opened at the church, with a private burial taking place following the service.

'Bingo with angels'

Keith was one of five children murdered by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley between 1963 and 1965.

The then 12-year-old was abducted on 12 June 1964, and was the only victim whose body has never been found, despite several large-scale searches of Saddleworth Moor.

During the service, hymns The Old Rugged Cross, Lord Of All Hopefulness and The Lord Is My Shepherd were played.

Elizabeth Bond, a friend of Mrs Johnson, gave a eulogy calling her a "woman ahead of her time".

She said: "Her mother was a great influence in her life, and when she became a mother herself she described it as the best thing that she ever did.

"Sadly in 1964, Keith was taken away from his family and Winnie became more and more of a public figure under the tagline - Keith Bennett's mother.

"I don't want us to forget that Winnie was so much more."

Keith Bennett Keith Bennett was abducted aged 12 on 16 June 1964

She added: "I hope you are playing bingo with the angels like you said you would and all the ones you loved are by your side when you shout house."

Floral tributes at the funeral included wreaths from Greater Manchester Police and her local bingo club.

'Candle for Keith'

Assistant priest Father John Grant, said Winnie was a regular face at St Chrysostom's Church.

"The abiding memory is of her arriving and leaving church in the electric scooter and she used to come in the side door, scoot across, park up and into the front pew," he said.

"At the end of every Sunday service she would go and light a candle for Keith.

"We have commended her into God's care, we have prayed that she will be at peace, we have prayed that she is reunited with Keith."

The day before Mrs Johnson's death, police said they were looking at claims Brady had revealed details about Keith's grave to his mental health advocate, Jackie Powell, from Carmarthenshire, south Wales.

Mrs Johnson's solicitor John Ainley said she had not known about the latest development as "she wasn't capable of accepting it".

Teresa Walsh, who helped Winnie search Saddleworth Moor for any signs to where Keith's body might be, attended the service.

She said: "She was a very strong lady, she loved her family.

"She just never gave up looking for Keith, she just wanted to find her son, that's all she wanted, to find him and lay him to rest."

A fund has been started to provide a memorial to Mrs Johnson inside the church and a community garden at the side of the building.

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