Wonderful woman has ashes exploded in a firework above Eel Pie Island

First published in Richmond and Twickenham Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter - Richmond and Twickenham

A woman’s wish has been fulfilled to forgo the funeral and have a life-celebration, concluding with her ashes going up in a firework.

Patricia Mitchell, nee Tatham, who grew up in Grimwood Road, Twickenham, was a regular visitor to the famous Eel Pie Island Hotel in the late 50s, igniting her love for jazz.

She died on April 25, aged 73, and her alternative funeral procession was held on Friday, May 9.

Her three daughters, Madeleine Collet, Lyndsay Darke and Heidi Lewis, honoured her requests with the celebration of their mother’s life, rather than a funeral held by those who did not know her.

Events kicked off in style with guests in procession behind the Silk Street Jazz Band, over the footbridge to Twickenham Rowing Club, where poems and eulogies were read by family and friends.

The festivities continued into the evening with the guests enjoying a fish and chip supper, strawberries and cream and champagne while dancing to the band’s upbeat music.

Children sent balloons into the sky with messages attached and the firework, containing Mrs Mitchell's ashes, was let off just after dark, lasting about two minutes.

Her daughter Madeleine said: “Mum rarely conformed to social norms, and this along with her sharp wit and very British humour, often entertained family and friends as well as anyone who came into contact with her.

“Although she had suffered poor health for some years, her character always remained and she was well cared for by her devoted daughters as well as her sister and grandson.

“Mum will be remembered by all as an eccentric, fun loving and unique lady.”

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