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McCartney Memorial Held in NYC

June 23, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ Tens of thousands of flowers decorated a Manhattan church Monday night as friends and family of Linda McCartney gathered to say good-bye to the animal rights activist, photographer and wife of the former Beatle.

Paul McCartney arrived in a limousine for the 8:30 p.m. service that celebrated the life of his wife, who died of breast cancer in April.

A similar memorial two weeks ago in a London church brought together the three surviving Beatles _ McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison, who joined the congregation in a sad rendition of their classic, ``Let It Be.″ Neither Starr nor Harrison were expected at Monday’s service at historic Riverside Church in Manhattan.

The family held the New York memorial in part because Linda was born in the New York City suburb of Scarsdale, a spokesman for Paul McCartney said.

``There are a lot of people over there who couldn’t get to the first one,″ said Geoff Baker.

The Rev. Robert Gentile, a Riverside Church minister, described the inside of the church as ``like a huge floral garden″ and said there were eight color photographs of Mrs. McCartney among hundreds of candles.

Baker said there were actually 45,000 individual flowers chosen and arranged by McCartney.

About 300 fans stood outside the church watching guests arriving including movie director Mike Nichols, television newswoman Diane Sawyer and designer Ralph Lauren.

Jennifer Kneeland, 15, of Cleveland, Ohio, who drove to the service with her 47-year-old father, Walter, was among those standing near the entrance to the church.

``I really loved her,″ Kneeland said of Mrs. McCartney. ``She was great. She stood up for her beliefs and she wanted to take care of animals. She really made a big impact on my life.″

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