FOUR CANDLES LIT FOR RONNIE

FOUR CANDLES LIT FOR RONNIE

A moving ceremony for Ronnie Corbett in which four candles, echoing one of his most famous sketches were lit, was closed by a recording of the late star singing Up’s the Only Way To Go.

Family and friends – including Rob Brydon, Sir Michael Parkinson and David Walliams – paid their respects to the entertainer today (Mon).

The family requested no flowers but donations be made to the Motor Neurone Disease Association charity or St. Christopher’s Hospice.

Tributes at the Saint John the Evangelist church were led by daughter Emma Corbett and a poem was read by daughter Sophie Corbett and her son Dylan.

His grandson opened the proceedings with a reading of Thessalonians 4:13-18 following his death from MND on March 31.

The ceremony was led by Canon Arthur Quinn, the comedian’s golfing partner and friend.

He quipped that the church warden had placed four candles in the candelabrum rather than five in a reference to Mr Corbett’s timeless joke.

The service was closed with a recording of Mr Corbett singing Up’s the Only Way to Go before his diminutive coffin, adorned with white flowers, was led down the aisle.

Before the service comedians Mr Brydon and Jimmy Tarbuck paid tributes.

Mr Tarbuck said: “How missed is he going to be? He wasn’t big, he was a giant.”

Pointing at Mr Brydon, he said: “He and I could walk down the street, he couldn’t do that.”

Mr Brydon added: “People would light up when they saw him. He would just bring happiness.

“He is timeless.”

Up to 100 fans lined the street in Shirley, south east London, to show their respect as around 150 invitees went into the church.

His wife, Anne Hart, wearing a white floral top, was moved to tears by the touching but light-humoured, 40-minute ceremony.

Their daughter Ann told the mourners inside the church: “Today is not about Ronnie Corbett the national treasure, today is about Ronnie Corbett the husband, the father, the grandfather and friend.

“It is an enormous honour to be his daughter.

“For someone known as being short, he would stand next to me 7ft tall.

“Dad we love you and are going to miss you every single day.”

Dylan and Sophie then read the poem The Day God Called You Home with Sophie ending it by saying, “We love you dad”.

Canon Quinn told how Mr Corbett was a dear friend of his and how they would play golf together on most Mondays.

He told the mourners: “He coped with being instantly recognisable with courtesy and charm always.”

The canon paid tribute how he always showed “love and care” to his family.

“Particularly over the past year when he became increasingly needy. This family love is wonderful and needs to be praised,” he added.

“So we miss you. We weep for him and ourselves. He made us happy. We remember Ronnie and we smile.”

To the laughter of mourners, he added: “The church warden has lit just four candles today.”

Mr Brydon said after the service: “I know from walking down the street with him people’s faces would light up when they saw him.”

And Sir Michael said: “He was a great man.

“It was very moving and not at all glitzy and showbiz.

“People will remember Ronnie Corbett and smile.

“I loved that man.”

Mr Walliams wore a sober black suit with a black tie as he stood by Mr Brydon, in a grey suit, during the service.

Mourners including comedian Harry Hill entered the church mourners to the music of Nimrod by Elgar.

Hymns of Dear Lord and Father of Mankind, Psalm 23, The Lord’s My Shepherd and Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory were also read.

He was then committed at Croydon Crematorium, in Croydon, south London, before the wake, which was held at his favourite golf club, The Addington Golf Club, in Addington, south London.

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