Review

Is it tackless or even bad taste to review a funeral. Probably yes.

Anyway… here goes.

Generally very moving and well organised.

I lost it when the casket – or should I say coffin – what is the done thing? Does the word casket make it less confronting, less dead? – arrived. And then we were asked to sing along to Walk the Line by Johnny Cash, one of Wal’s favourite songs. I had the words as we knew it was on the rundown but I couldn’t sing it – I couldn’t get the words out.

The priest read out some moving words from Lyn, then the sisters spoke, very well I thought, then a montage of photos with bits of Wally’s voice which was lovely.

Then the first of the eulogies – Alan Carpenter – who spoke well – and Dennis Cometti who was very entertaining indeed. Timing was that of a stand-up comedian. And yet he maintained his solemnity. Very impressive.

Then the boys got up and they were both fantastic.

Lawyer Neil McKerrick QC spoke (covering much of the ground covered by others) to talk about being his mate. Which had some lovely insights (but maybe went on a bit too long).

Then Kylie Wheeler, heptathlete spoke. Nice touch wearing her Olympic suit I thought. She spoke simply and quickly (which was also good) and from the heart.

Then the priest got up to speak. Okay here’s the thing. An Anglican priest, a huge audience in the venue plus the radio and online audience. You would think that this would be a change to showcase what the church can be to a grieving family.

He was rambling. He was circuitous, in some parts he simply didn’t even make sense. But I could forgive all of that if he had been short winded. But no.

From tolerance (I’m not exactly religious) I moved to annoyance and finally mild contempt.

When he finally got back on track with the prayers I confess to relief.

I don’t mean to sound mean but it was a disappointing end to what had been a beautiful service… IMHO.

But it was fantastic that I could be there with all of my colleagues to farewell a friend who had been and still is a guiding light, a mentor and as I said apart from the serman – a fitting end to a life which had touched so many.

4/5 chocolate crackles