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Thursday, August 19, 1999 Published at 17:51 GMT 18:51 UK


Motorcycle send-off for Fat Ladies star

Jennifer Paterson's favourite helmet was buried beside her coffin

Former Two Fat Ladies television chef Jennifer Paterson has been buried along with her favourite motorcycle crash helmet.

The chef and presenter of the hit BBC Two series, in which she and co-presenter Clarissa Dickson Wright toured the country on a motorcycle with sidecar, died last week aged 71 after losing a battle against lung cancer.

[ image: The celebrity cooks toured the country on a motorcycle and sidecar]
The celebrity cooks toured the country on a motorcycle and sidecar
She was remembered by family and friends, including Ms Dickson Wright, at a Catholic requiem at Brompton Oratory, London, on Thursday.

The multi-coloured helmet, with the words Born Wild on the front and Triumph at the rear, lay on a table next to her coffin during the service and was later buried beside her at a private family ceremony.

Ms Clarissa Dickson Wright said after requiem service: "She wore it in its day, but when it wore out inside she put it with the rest of her collection.

"She had dozens of them. She was always hurt that she had to wear such a plain helmet on the programme."

Other guests at the service included chef Antonio Carluccio. Her friends from the literary world included former Private Eye editor Richard Ingrams and novelist Beryl Bainbridge.

[ image: Their fun-loving approach to cooking and food had great public appeal]
Their fun-loving approach to cooking and food had great public appeal
Flamboyant eccentric Ms Paterson found fame in her 60s as one half of the celebrity duo as they toured the UK on a Triumph motorbike and sidecar, dishing up culinary delights.

Their fun-loving approach to cooking and the pleasure of food caught the public's imagination and won both women, and their show, a large following.

Speaking at the funeral, Ms Paterson's friend the writer A N Wilson read a reflection on her "life-and-soul" attitude.

He said: "She loved parties, jokes, and above all friends. She never appeared to be eaten up by regret or ambition. Laughter and her love of friends were the key stones of her life."

He continued: "When staring death in the face she did so without flinching, without self-importance and without self-dramatisation - we will never forget this.

"There was nothing phoney about Jennifer. She had a huge capacity for friendship - witness the size of this crowd. "

[ image: Co-host Clarissa arrives with gourmet Antonio Carluccio]
Co-host Clarissa arrives with gourmet Antonio Carluccio
Her brothers James and Commander Charles Paterson gave readings at the service. While among the many other mourners, her friend Father Ronald Creighton-Jobe also spoke of Ms Paterson's devout Catholicism.

"Week after week, year after year she came to this church to worship almighty God and to pray because behind that facade was a very serious prayer," he said.

Floral tributes at the church included a wreath in the shape of a whisky bottle with a red label saying "Jennifer".

BBC Broadcast chief executive Will Wyatt was among those who sent flowers.

After the service, Ms Dickson Wright said that four editions of the fourth series of Two Fat Ladies were completed before Ms Paterson's death and would probably be shown in the autumn.

But she added that she would not complete the remaining shows on her own, saying: "I wouldn't want to do it and I think it would be totally inappropriate"

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