The Argus. 11th December 1999
Sons' perfect last act for Mrs Fox
Actor Edward Fox moved a congregation of more than 200 at his mother's funeral with one of the performances of his life.
Edward, 62, who achieved fame with his role in the film The Day of the Jackal, made sure Angela Fox's last wish that her service at Cuckfield should not be a gloomy affair was fulfilled.
Laughter filled the packed Holy Trinity Church as Edward spoke of his mother's zest for life.
The congregation was treated to a demonstration of his vivacious mother's gestures when she became impatient with boring speakers, showing how she would fiddle with her pearl necklace and stretch her neck.
Edward told the congregation: "It was a familiar bit of acting designed to tell you that she'd had quite enough for one day."
There was more laughter when Edward recalled how his mother used to like him quoting from Shakespeare.
He told the congregation: "She came to believe I was the greatest scholar of Shakespeare since Tudor times.
"So I wanted to say goodbye to her and to you with a few words of Wordsworth because Shakespeare is a bit heavy."
The mood of the occasion was captured by a string quartet playing 'Some Enchanted Evening' from the hit musical South Pacific, with its line "Some enchanted evening you may see a stranger across a crowded room".
Mrs Fox used to say how when she first saw her husband-to-be Robin at a dinner party that she fell in love instantly and knew he was the man she wanted to be the father of her children.
The congregation was treated to Bobby Darin's recording of the upbeat Mack the Knife as they waited to file out for the burial ceremony.
Among the mourners was relative Vanessa Redgrave and her daughter, Joely Richardson.
Miss Redgrave, visibly moved by the service, said afterwards: "It was a very lovely tribute to a very lovely lady."
Dozens of local people joined the Fox family for the service.
Cookery author Katie Stewart, who lives in Cuckfield and knew Mrs Fox well, said: "I thought the service was absolutely perfect for her."
Grandsons carried the coffin into the church and Mrs Fox's favourite hymns, All Things Bright and Beautiful and Abide With Me, were sung during the 45-minute service.
Robert Fox, Mrs Fox's youngest son, and her middle son James, both gave short readings, leaving the main address to Edward's star turn.
Before her death last week at the age of 87, Mrs Fox, a former comedienne and actress, had requested there should be no mourning or black dress at the service.
Article courtesy of The Argus 1999