Alexandra Bastedo's Funeral
25th January 2014
In the early afternoon of Saturday 25th January 2014, over 300 people gathered together at the beautiful St. Mary's Church, Storrington, to pay their respects to Alexandra Bastedo - star of Film, TV and Stage and a passionate supporter of animal welfare - who passed away peacefully on 12th January 2014. It is a testimony to the very high regard in which she was held by so many that some people had travelled half-way across the world to attend – from the United States, Canada, France and Italy as well as from across the UK - to pay their respects to the lady who in some way had influenced their lives.
Prior to the funeral service, family and close friends had the opportunity to pay their respects in private to Alexandra at St.Mary's Church, Sullington, before being brought down in the sunshine to Storrington.
The funeral, organised according to Alexandra's wishes, included music by a string quartet, a soul band, a piano and a saxophone, all played by her friends or relatives. The service began at 1.00pm and included tributes made by family members and celebrity friends of Alexandra alike. All stages of her life were covered, particularly what was to become the largest part of her life - the welfare of animals and her ABC Animal Sanctuary, an animal rescue organisation which she started over thirty years earlier and which is now a registered charity. Amongst those attending the service were many of the volunteers from her Animal Sanctuary, more celebrity friends and Lady Nicholas Gordon-Lennox, who kindly represented HRH Prince Charles - a friend of both Alexandra and her late husband but who was unable to attend the service.
The moving service was conducted by the Revd. Derek Spencer, Rector of St.Mary's Church, Sullington, accompanied by the Revd. Malcolm Acheson, Rector of St.Mary's Church, Storrington. The Order of Service can be found below.
The burial took place in the churchyard of St.Mary's Church, Sullington, where Alexandra was laid to rest beside her beloved husband, Patrick Garland, who passed away in April 2013.
Special thanks must go to:
Pianist & Organist
The Bastedo Band
Alex Watson & Sophia Toomey
Flute & Saxophone
Violin & Leader of the Pandora Quartet: Franck Leprince
Donations in memory of Alexandra may be made at: www.bmycharity.com/alexbastedo
ORDER OF SERVICE
Please see below one of several tributes made to Alexandra at the service:
"I first saw old photos of the woman whom up until then I’d only known as my godmother when I was 14. Flicking through my mother’s old albums from the 60s I came upon photos of Alex and Patrick’s wedding. These were not designed to make a teenage girl, typically insecure about her looks, feel any better. Because Alex, as we all know, was absolutely smoking. Gorgeous. Impossibly beautiful. The kind of beautiful that inspires clever men to write tonguetied poems and film-stars to make fools out of themselves. Helen of Troy in a mini-skirt.
Eventually, though, I found it heart-warming. The Alex I knew as my godmother was, obviously, extremely beautiful, but so lacking in vanity that it was delightful to discover that she had once been one of “the most beautiful women in London”.
The Alex I knew wore wellies, shunned hairdressers, and bred terrifying guinea fowl, or as my brother Tom refers to them after a particularly unpleasant encounter, ‘the devil’s bird’. She was kind, unassuming, intelligent, and plain-speaking. Visiting her and Patrick in their house built out of books and chipmunks was always pleasure. You never knew what treat you might find in your bedroom –a pile of first edition Henry James, or a litter of rescued Siamese kittens, or a doberman, or a school of koi, or some chickens, or ducks, or swans, or doves, or geese, or ferrets. It was a place alive with love. How many other godchildren got a rescue donkey called Frances to ride on the weekend? Her physical beauty was a given. It was a different beauty I came to know.
The more I’ve spoken to her friends, the more I realize that this Alex I knew is not at all far away from the woman of intimidating good looks in those old photographs. Her kindness and intelligence, it’s clear, were as intrinsic and as undeniable as her beauty. Alex always wanted to be a vet, to dedicate her life to caring for vulnerable creatures. But life, and her undeniable beauty, took her elsewhere, to Hollywood. Yet her intelligence shone through in the number of languages she managed to master and, consequently, the myriad foreign films in which she starred. While her passion for animals persisted through her years of stardom in her supporting cast of loyal dobermans.
The calling of her beauty was never enough for her. Her early passion for helping others took centre-stage when she retired from acting, and settled in Sussex with Patrick. Not only in the countless animals she rescued. Many of us humans also experienced her hospitality and her loyalty. More recently, Alex devotedly nursed Patrick, whilst suffering from breast cancer herself.
Her bravery and kindness are an inspiration. Before she went on her trip to Mexico this Christmas, her final attempt to get well, she made sure to leave behind presents for her friends, family, and godchildren. She leaves behind so much more.
She leaves a life so well lived; she leaves hundreds of helpless and grateful animals she rescued; and she leaves us, her friends, her family, all feeling helpless without her, but very grateful for having known her. Thank you for being here and thank you Alex for being in our lives".