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By IH Wednesday 10 April 2013 Updated: 16/04 08:17
FRIENDS and family gathered to say farewell to Richard Griffiths at the actor's funeral in Stratford on Tuesday (April 9).
The 65-year-old, who lived near in Bearley, was one of the country's best-loved and most instantly recognisable stage and screen actors, known to millions as Uncle Vernon in the Harry Potter films, Uncle Monty in the cult British film Withnail and I, and on stage and screen as the inspirational teacher in The History Boys.
Many famous faces were among the 300 mourners at Holy Trinity Church including Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe, Alan Bennett, Michael Palin, Nigel Havers, Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, Mr Griffiths' godson the comedian Jack Whitehall, and fellow Stratford resident actors David Bradley and John Nettles,
Richard E Grant paid tribute to his Withnail and I co-star by sending a wreath of root vegetables to his funeral - a reference to their roles in the film - in which Uncle Monty proclaims "The carrot has mystery. Flowers are essentially tarts". Withnail & I has been cited as the most quoted of all time.
Dame Judi Dench sent a more traditional floral tribute - a single rose.
Downton Abbey star Penelope Wilton read from Edward Lear's The Owl and the Pussycat and fellow actor Paul Jesson read an excerpt from Kenneth Grahame's Wind In The Willows, before two more poems read by family friends.
Former Bond girl Carmen Du Sautoy read from Ecclesiastes, then tenor Graham Neal sung Danny Boy.
After the congregation sang There Is A Green Hill Far Away, former Coronation Street actor John Bowe read from Act Four Scene One of Shakespeare's The Tempest.
The coffin left the church after the final hymn, Thine Be the Glory, to a recital of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos.
Mr Griffith's agent Simon Beresford said the fineral was a 'wonderful celebration' of the actor's life
He said: "It was a sad day but there were also lots of smiles and laughs.
"It was a wonderful celebration of Richard's life."
Born in North Yorkshire, as a young actor in the 1970s he spent a number of years on the RSC stage in Stratford, playing roles including Bottom, Trinculo and Henry VIII.
He was awarded an OBE for services to drama in 2007.
Mr Griffiths died on March 28 after complications following heart surgery. He is survived by wife Heather.
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