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Boyzone's Gately vigil
Updated: 2009-10-15 18:31

Boyzone's Gately vigil

Stephen Gately's bandmates are to sleep in church with his coffin tomorrow (16.10.09) and will serve as pall bearers at his funeral on Saturday (17.10.09).

Stephen Gately's Boyzone bandmates are to spend the night with his body.

The four band members - Ronan Keating, Shane Lynch, Keith Duffy and Mikey Graham - have vowed to sleep in the church where the singer's body lies the night before his funeral because he "wouldn't want to be alone".

A source said: "It proves how close they were. Those lads would do anything for Stephen and they know he would not want to be there on his own."

It is traditional in Ireland for bodies to be taken to the church the night before a funeral, but not for anyone to stay there.

Another source said: "People do not stay overnight in churches. It just doesn't happen. They don't even stay the night in funeral homes. But with young people like Stephen, maybe they've discussed their wishes with friends before and told them they would not like to be alone overnight."

The band are preparing to fly back to Majorca - where Stephen died last Saturday (10.10.09) in the holiday home he owned with husband Andy Cowley - today (15.10.09) to escort the 33-year-old star's body back to Dublin ahead of a family wake tomorrow (16.10.09) and funeral service at St Laurence O'Toole's church on Saturday (17.10.09).

The group will all act as pall bearers, carrying the singer's coffin through the church at the funeral.

Meanwhile, Stephen's distraught manager Louis Walsh has turned down the offer to deliver a eulogy at the service because he fears he will break down.

The music mogul - who has pulled out of appearing on UK TV talent show 'The X Factor' on Saturday, on which he is a judge - said: "They asked me to get involved but I couldn't stand up.

"The emotions and nerves would be worse than any 'X Factor' show. I don't like real life - that's why I love the pop business, because it's not real.

"The funeral will hit me hard because it still hasn't sunk in that he's gone. I'm dazed. It will be an awful, dreadful day."

Louis has promised that the funeral will be a time for "celebrating" his friend's life.

He added: "If he's looking down on us from heaven, he's going to love it and be so proud. He gave the world so much joy, so it's only right that's how we remember him."

In addition to the service in Stephen's hometown, a memorial service is also being planned to take place in London, but a date has not yet been set.

Stephen died from an acute pulmonary oedema, a build-up of fluid in the lungs, thought to have been caused by an undetected heart condition.