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Mourners pay tribute to Mary Whitehouse

PUBLISHED: 17:01 06 December 2001 | UPDATED: 10:59 03 March 2010

THE slow toll of church bells greeted mourners as they gathered for the funeral of Mary Whitehouse today.

The self-styled scourge of broadcasters spearheaded her clean up TV campaign from her home in Ardleigh near the Suffolk/Essex border, and was a regular worshipper at the parish church in the neighbouring community of Dedham where the service was held.

THE slow toll of church bells greeted mourners as they gathered for the funeral of Mary Whitehouse today.

The self-styled scourge of broadcasters spearheaded her clean up TV campaign from her home in Ardleigh near the Suffolk/Essex border, and was a regular worshipper at the parish church in the neighbouring community of Dedham where the service was held.

Rev Gerard Moate, vicar of St Mary the Virgin church, who was to lead the service said he had known Mrs Whitehouse for more than 30 years: "I will always remember her courage … in season and out," he said, speaking moments before the start of the noon service.

"Somebody once said to me she was old fashioned for so long it came back in fashion."

During the service Mr Moate was to tell congregation that he first met Mrs Whitehouse in the early 1970s.

"She was attending a planning meeting of the Nationwide Festival of Light. I opened the front door to greet this formidable woman, whose smiling face was framed by a large pair of glasses which, together with her finely formed head of hair made quite an impact.

"Her achievements and failures, her prophetic vision and personal limitations have been well documented. In her life and since her death, there has been no shortage of people willing to pronounce on her campaigning years and to affirm they were either wonderful or wasted – their conclusion usually being adjusted to fit their preconceptions."

John Beyer, director of Media Watch, was to pay a personal tribute to Mrs Whitehouse, who died aged 91, at the Abberton Manor Nursing Home, in Colchester, where she had been living for the past two years.

It was to be followed by a poem reading by her daughter-in-law Rosalind Whitehouse and a lesson reading by her other daughter-in-law Veronica.

Prayers were then to be led by the Rev John Mitson.

Two of her sons, Richard and Paul, were among the mourners attending the service, her third son, Christopher, was unable to attend.

She will be interned in the parish graveyard close to her husband Ernest, who was buried there 18 months ago.

A memorial service for Mrs Whitehouse will be held at St Bride's, Fleet Street, in the New Year.


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