Page last updated at 18:08 GMT, Saturday, 26 April 2008 19:08 UK

Mourners attend Minghella service

Jude Law
Jude Law read one of Anthony Minghella's favourite poems

Hundreds of family members, friends and film industry colleagues have gathered for a thanksgiving service for director Anthony Minghella, who died in March.

Actors Jude Law and Alan Rickman were among the mourners at Saturday's service, held at St Thomas's Church in Newport, on the Isle of Wight.

Minghella was born and brought up in Ryde, where his parents still live.

Minghella died aged 54 after suffering a haemorrhage following surgery for cancer of the tonsils and neck.

The service was organised by his family and the Isle of Wight Council. Minghella was made the first Freeman of the Isle of Wight in 1997.

Around 600 people were inside the church for the service while around another 100 listened outside, where loud speakers had been set up.

Readings and tributes were given by family members and friends, including Law and Rickman.

His presence blessed you and his absence bruised you
Dominic Minghella's tribute to his brother

Law read the poem When Death Comes by Mary Oliver.

The order of service said: "This was one of Anthony's favourite poems, read by Jude, one of Anthony's favourite people."

Rickman then read from Hang Up, a short radio play by Minghella, which won the 1998 Prix Italia.

Rickman was described as: "A dear friend and colleague of Anthony's for 20 years."

Minghella's brother Dominic paid tribute to the director.

"He was great, he was a genius but he was also a person, human, flawed, gorgeous and infuriating.

"His presence blessed you and his absence bruised you."

He said his brother's death had been a shock for all who knew him.

"We were all expecting another reel in his story or knowing Anthony several more reels - we can only imagine how those extra chapters would have gone."

Alan Rickman
Alan Rickman read from a short radio play written by Anthony Minghella

He finished his tribute by quoting from Minghella's iconic film Truly, Madly Deeply.

"I would like to list a few ways in which Anthony is still with us: Really, truly, madly, deeply, passionately, remarkably, to name but a few."

Dominic's son Dante also read a poem he had written about his uncle titled: My Superman.

The service began and ended with pieces by JS Bach.

The order of service said: "Anthony loved Bach. His music played a significant role in much of his work.

"The two pieces played at the beginning and end of this service feature in Truly Madly Deeply, and Anthony's first film as director."

Other music included a piece written especially for another Minghella movie The Talented Mr Ripley, starring Law.

Also in attendance was TV gardener and chat show host Alan Titchmarsh who was recently made the High Sheriff of the Isle of Wight and attended as part of his ceremonial duties.

The family asked for charitable donations to be made to Cancer Research UK and The Number One, a charity dedicated to helping the women and children of Botswana.


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