After almost two hours of beautifully delivered, loving speeches from her famous friends and family, the last word went to Lynda Bellingham at her funeral in Somerset yesterday.
“I love you Michael Pattemore; there’s nothing more I can say,” mourners heard Michael read out in a letter written to him by Lynda our popular Yours columnist just before her death, aged 66, on October 19.
Then, just as Lynda wanted, he picked up her white flower covered coffin with her beloved boys and carried her out of St Bartholomew’s Church, Crewkerne, to the jolly sound of ‘There’s No Business Like Showbusiness.’
Always Lynda’s plan to leave everybody laughing, she succeeded as hundreds of mourners inside and outside the church watched her make her final journey to the cemetery across town.
As she was laid to rest, a sobbing Michael - who revealed it was ten years to the day since they first met in Spain - had one last surprise up his sleeve that she’d known nothing about.
Determined she should go out with a bang, a spectacular display of fireworks lit up the sky as she was bid a final goodbye.
Earlier, the highly emotional sad, funny service included tributes by Michael, sons Robbie and Michael, sister Jean, Gyles Brandeth, Lynda La Plante, Maureen Lipman, Jane McDonald, Sue Latimer, Denise Welch, Nicholas Grace, Christopher Biggins and Christopher Timothy.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the centuries old church when The venerable Peter Delaney, who married Lynda and Michael on her 60th birthday, announced that the choir would sing Away in a Manger to mark her love of Christmas and that particular carol.
In his tribute and dressed in a bright pink suit, Christopher Biggins said he only hoped that when we die we hover around long enough to see our own funerals.
“Wouldn’t she have loved today?” he asked. Wouldn’t she just.
Lynda’s spirit lives on
In honour of Lynda’s kindness and generosity Yours magazine set up an appeal fund a few weeks ago in her name to raise money for three charities close to her heart: Action Against Cancer, Macmillan and Marie Curie nurses.
Thank you to the hundreds of readers who have already donated. The appeal fund is still open for donations.
If you’d like to donate, visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/YoursMagazine or to make a donation by post: make your cheque payable to the charity of your choice and send it to Yours Lynda Bellingham Appeal, Media House, Peterborough Business Park, Peterborough PE2 6EA.
Picture by Brian Aris