George Michael’s devoted fans finally got the chance to pay tribute to him on Sunday at the first public memorial for the star.

Hundreds of people descended on Bushey – where George grew up – for the The Service of Thanksgiving, with many travelling from across the globe to pay their respects.

Fans carried posies of fresh flowers and wore T-shirts proclaiming the slogan Choose Life in honour of the singer.

The service was a poignant mixture of the traditional and modern, opening with one of George’s classic hits Jesus To A Child.

Watford Observer:

Many wanted to pay their respects in person to the former Wham! star

The congregation sang hymns including Jerusalem and were treated to a rendition of the singer’s Praying For Time before candles were lit and prayers said.

The service ended on an up-beat note, with Wham’s Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.

The event was organised by the George Michael Appreciation Society, which was created after his death.

Speaking after the service, society founder Tracey Wills, 45, from Bushey, said: “I felt the fans wanted the chance to say goodbye with a service or funeral.

Watford Observer:

"Obviously the family had a private funeral, but the fans wanted to say goodbye too. If you shut your eyes it was like George was there.

“What was beautiful was when at the end I put on Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go everyone just got up and started singing and dancing. It ended up being a celebration and a funeral. We’ve had people from all over the country and we even had some from Malta, Spain and Switzerland.

Watford Observer:

“People wanted somewhere to go to grieve and pay their respects because they had nowhere to go and this has really helped them.

“It was exactly what he would have wanted and how he would like to have been remembered.”

Afterwards the fans descended on the Three Crowns Pub in Bushey, where George and bandmate Andrew Ridgeley decided to form Wham! in 1981.

At the wake was one fan, Fabi Gomez who had travelled from Switzerland for the service.

Ms Gomez said: “He has been a huge part of my life and I wanted to say goodbye.”

A coroner ruled in March that George died of natural causes from heart and liver disease.