There’s nothing like a funeral for making you evaluate your own life; causing you to wonder what yours will be like and what people will say about you. I’ve always thought that wanting to plan your own funeral is the ultimate in being a control freak, but perhaps it might help friends and family to know that they’re doing what you wanted.
Impossible to know for sure, but I think Sue Townsend’s funeral yesterday was exactly what she would have wanted. It just felt so right to open the doors of De Montfort Hall to the people of Leicester so that anyone could come. Even though there were separate seats for family and guests, we didn’t feel separate, and even when Stephen Mangan got up to speak it didn’t feel like being in the presence of celebrity, but like being with a friend.
I felt I got to know Sue a lot better as I looked at the photos and listened to the eulogies, including an amusing tale from her agent about how hard it was to get her to accept more money, and the story of how her husband-to-be impressed her by being able to put a jumper on while smoking a Woodbine.
500 people were there to hear Peter Soulsby suggest that the old Phoenix should be named after her, including a woman whose son nearly got the part of Adrian Mole and was consoled with great kindness by Sue. We came away feeling, quite simply, great.
And then Jonathan came and fixed my bike. A perfect end to the day.
Oh! And I discovered that the humanist celebrant was one half of Nicci French!!