Quiet, gentle service that reflected Dr Kelly's spirit
THE grieving family of Dr David Kelly laid the weapons expert to rest yesterday in a moving funeral service.
Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott and Lord Hutton, who is leading the inquiry into the scientist's death, joined Dr Kelly's relatives and friends for the ceremony at St Mary's Church in the Oxfordshire village of Longworth.
His widow Janice, 58, remained composed throughout the 40-minute service, which reflected her husband's Welsh roots and his attachment to the pacifist Baha'i religion.
The coffin, decked with a wreath of white flowers and a blue cushion wrapped in a red ribbon, arrived at the church in a hearse about eight minutes before the start of the service at 2pm.
A lone bell tolled as it was brought up the path to the church, followed by Mrs Kelly, her eldest daughter Sian, 32 and the couple's twins Ellen and Rachel, 30.
The vicar of St Mary's, the Rev Roy Woodhams, said the pallbearers were all family members although they were not "blood relations".
Around 160 mourners attended the service, which opened with the Welsh hymn Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah.
Family friend and former BBC Panorama journalist Tom Mangold, who was among the first to arrive at the church, said, "It showed how closely he maintained his Welsh roots. He preferred being called Dai to David."
A poem by Wilfred Howe-Nurse - a Longworth poet who used to live at Dr Kelly's house, Westfield, in the village of Southmoor - was then read to the congregation, said Mr Mangold.
This was followed by another hymn and a reading from the Bible, Matthew Chapter 5, which included the verse, "How blessed are those of a gentle spirit who shall have the earth for their possession. How blessed are the peacemakers, God shall call them his sons".
The vicar told the mourners, "We are here because of the tragedy that has taken place. We are not here for the media or to make a political statement or to apportion blame."
The service also included a Baha'i prayer, opening with the lines, "O My God! O My God! Verily thy servant, humble before the majesty of thy divine supremacy".
His family were said to have chosen the prayers from a selection made by followers at his local Baha'i centre in Abingdon.
The service closed with the hymn Dear Lord and Father of Mankind.
Dr Kelly was then buried in the graveyard of St Mary's, in the shadow of the north side of the 13th Century building.
Visible just over a mile away is Harrowdown Hill, where Dr Kelly's body was found with his left wrist slashed and an open packet of painkillers by his side on July 18.
Speaking after the service, Mr Mangold said Dr Kelly's family remained "pale and stoic" during the service, with the exception of his daughter Rachel, who cried throughout.
"It was a very dignified service, it was a beautiful service," he said.
"It was quiet, it was gentle and in every way reflected the man."
Around 40 wreaths were laid to the right of the pathway near the church gate with message cards from well-wishers.
A number of villagers who were not invited to the funeral stood outside the church porch in the blazing sunshine, holding order of service sheets as the church organ played.
Dr Kelly's family were determined to keep the service as private as possible and asked for media access to be restricted.
The body of Dr Kelly, 59, was found on July 18 after he was named as the "mole" for a BBC report that the Government had "sexed up" its Iraq dossier.
©Copyright 2003, icWales (UK)
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