Stars' and pals' fond farewell to Lynda Bellingham
It was never going to be understated. Lynda Bellingham's family and friends said their last farewell as she had lived - with sheer good humour.
Friends had promised to give the actress, who died from colon cancer last month, aged 66, "one final show" at a "live and bright and joyous" funeral. And so it was. With explicit poems, swearing and even fireworks, it was the Royal Variety Performance-style send-off they had promised her. Her friend Christopher Biggins, the television personality, wore a pink suit that he said would have "put a smile on her face". And a gaggle of her closest friends in showbusiness read out moving tributes to the woman who had "shown us how to live" then "taught us how to die".
After the service, silver, red and green fireworks exploded as she was buried amid the Somerset hills, to cheers from mourners.
Michael Pattemore, her third husband, bore her coffin into the service with her sons, Michael, 31, and Robert, 26, who wore black shirts and black ties. Another mourner carried their accompanying tributes, spelling out "Mum" and "Lynda" in white chrysanthemums. Other family members followed, each carrying a solitary white rose. The service, at St Bartholemew's Church in Mr Pattemore's hometown of Crewkerne, Somerset, was led by Peter Delaney, the former Archdeacon of London, who married the couple in 2008.
And her on-screen family was reunited, as Michael Redfern, who played the husband of her gravy-boat mother in the long-running Oxo television advertisements, was among the mourners. Despite the drizzle, at least a hundred locals gathered outside the 15th century parish church to pay respect. (© Daily Telegraph London)