Benedict Cumberbatch wrote a heartfelt letter apologising for not attending the funeral of a teenage Sherlock fan.
The 38-year-old Oscar nominee sent his “deepest sympathies” to the family of 14-year-old Eve Shepherd, explaining that he couldn’t be there because he was “filming the show she loved”.
The touching tribute was read out during the ceremony in Padgate, Cheshire, which was attended by mourners wearing deer stalker hats.
It read: “I send my deepest sympathies to Eve’s family. To lose someone so young who fought for her health all her life must be beyond endurance.
“I hope they can take solace from the fact that she was clearly much loved and her support of our show is hugely appreciated and shall be remembered.
“I wish I could be there but sadly am filming the show she loved. God rest her soul. With all my love and sympathies, Benedict xxx”
The procession left the church after the ceremony accompanied by the Sherlock theme tune.
Her father, Mark, 47, told the MailOnline: “Eve would find this funny as she was a big TV and film fan. She would be giggling her head off at the thought she was in the newspaper.
“But she would be so happy about the letter from Benedict – she was a huge fan.”
Eve was born prematurely at just 28 weeks. She survived to the age of 14 despite not being expected to survive longer than 24 hours by medics at her birth.
During her life, she underwent 200 operations, including having a tracheotomy tube fitted to help her breathe.
She died of breathing difficulties earlier this month.
Her mother Jane, 46, who was her full-time carer, said: “The doctors kept her alive which was a miracle.
“If we are being honest they thought she was only going to live a day but she never gave up and we never gave up.”
The congregation were encouraged to make donations to the Peter Pan ward at Great Ormond Street, Alder Hey Bereavement team and Warrington Animal Welfare.