Sunday, 01 August 2021

Farmer’s coffin pulled to funeral by favourite horse

Farmer’s coffin pulled to funeral by favourite horse

THE funeral of a farmer and community stalwart took place on Saturday.

Sarah Hall, who lived at Chalkhouse Green Farm for more than 50 years, died on May 10, aged 77.

She founded the Soundabout music charity for disabled people and served on Kidmore End Parish Council for more than 30 years as well as regularly opening her farm and gardens to the public.

Scores of mourners attended the service at St John the Baptist Church in Kidmore End. They included her husband John, children James, Charles and Freddie and grandchildren Tilly, Ned, Jonty, Ollie, George, Izzy and Toby.

Mrs Hall’s coffin was brought to the church on the back of a horse-drawn cart. Volunteers directed traffic to keep the main road clear as the procession made its way from the farm, led by a hearse from funeral directors A B Walker.

The cart was driven by long-standing family friends Bruce Honey and Nicky Craig and pulled by Alfred, 10, one of Mrs Hall’s beloved Suffolk Punch draft horses.

The coffin and cart were decorated with purple, pink and white flowers including roses, lillies and daisies as well as trailing ferns and plants such as ivy.

Friends and family followed behind on foot and a small crowd of villagers, who couldn’t go inside the church as it was full, gathered at the lych gate to watch in silence as pallbearers carried the coffin inside.

The service opened with an organ recital of Queen Mary’s Funeral March by Henry Purcell and the church choir sang Thomas Tallis’s If Ye Love Me before Rev Will Pearson-Gee, who conducted the sermon, welcomed the congregation.

They sang hymns including Jesus, Good Above All Other, O God, Our Help in Ages Past and All People That on Earth do Dwell while readings of prayers and Bible verses were delivered by the family.

More than 100 additional well-wishers attended on a Zoom call
co-ordinated by Freddie, who couldn’t attend in person as he was in quarantine while waiting to fly back home to Singapore. The ceremony concluded with everyone singing the music hall standard Good-Bye-Ee before Edward Knowles, master of foxhounds for the Tedworth Hunt, sounded the “blowing for home” call on a hunting horn.

Mr Hall said: “It was quite extraordinary to see so many people waiting at the gate to watch her go by.

“I was very choked up by the outpouring of affection that was being shown and I think Sarah would have been amazed by all the fuss. although the service itself was entirely her doing.

“There was also a huge collection for Soundabout and we’re thankful to everyone for their generosity.”

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