Bernie Nolan left a diary full of memories and advice for her teenage daughter, Erin. In preparation for her death Bernie, who died on 4 July after a three-year battle with cancer, made sure Erin, 14, had a journal of stories and inspirational messages to help her in the coming months and years.
“Erin was Bernie’s whole world, and she wanted to continue to be able to influence her life,” said Linda Nolan, Bernie’s sister. “So she left a diary for her. It is personal between mother and daughter – full of the memories they share.”
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During the final hours of her life, Bernie gave Erin the diary as her family gathered at her Weybridge home. “On Thursday morning we got up early to be with her,” said Linda.
“Steve [Bernie’s husband] and Erin held her close. We told her not to be frightened and that we loved her.” On Wednesday Bernie’s family kept their spirits up by bringing bottles of bubbly to her bedside and singing to her.
“When we knew the time was close we opened a bottle of champagne to toast Bernie’s life. We put a glass next to her bed, she would have gone mad if we had left her out.”
Bernie and Erin have enjoyed a close relationship and in October 2012, Bernie told ! how she faced the tough task of telling her daughter she had terminal cancer. “When I take her to bed, we have big long chats and I sing to her still,” said Bernie.”That’s when she tells me everything.”
In the months running up to her death, as well as compiling the diary, Bernie was also able makes plans for the events following her passing. The Dublin-born star expressed a wish her for her ashes to be buried alongside those of her stillborn daughter Kate, who she lost in 1997.
Coleen Nolan revealed how her sister had planned every detail of her funeral, which will take place on 17 July. “The funeral will be the party she wanted,” Coleen told the Sunday Mirror, adding that it will be a “massive celebration of her life.”
Actress and singer Bernie, 52, who starred in TV shows including The Bill and Brookside, had hoped that the ceremony would be held in the Grand Theatre in her hometown of Blackpool. Bernie had fond memories of the theatre, where she performed with her famous siblings as part of the Nolan Sisters.
“The theatre was our lives,” said Linda. “Bernie was a born performer and did summer seasons and pantomime at The Grand.”