Richard Burns' family have announced that a public memorial service to commemorate his life and career will be held in London later this month.

A private funeral meanwhile for family and invited friends will be held early next week.

"The public memorial service which follows the private funeral is being organised specifically to pay tribute to Richard's many achievements," read a statement from the family.

"It is the family's wish that this special service should be celebration of Richard's life and those attending are encouraged to dress accordingly.

"The Burns family and his partner Zoe Keen would also like to take this opportunity to thank the many thousands of Richard's friends and fans from all over the globe who've paid their respects via the memorial section set-up on his official website: www.richard-burns.com.

"More than 15,000 have already signed the online condolence book and their heart-warming messages not only underline the huge respect and popularity Richard held right across the world but these kind tributes are also a very real source of strength at this time."

Burns was diagnosed with an astrocytoma - a form of brain tumour - in November 2003 and, for two years, fought his illness with typical courage and good humour. Sadly, despite his great resolve, there was to be no miracle and he passed away peacefully last Friday, November 25, four years to day after being crowned as England's first and only World Rally champion.

The public memorial service will be held at St Luke's Church, Sydney Street, London SW3 6NH at 11.00am on Thursday December 22.