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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 August, 2003, 17:15 GMT 18:15 UK
David Kelly laid to rest
The coffin of Dr David Kelly is carried in to church by family members as the scientist's wife and family look on
The funeral included elements of the Baha'i faith
The funeral of weapons expert Dr David Kelly has taken place at a church close to the beauty spot where he apparently took his own life.

His wife Janice, 58, and daughters Sian, 32, and twins Ellen and Rachel, 30, led up to 160 mourners in the service at St Mary's Church, Longworth, near Faringdon in Oxfordshire.

Senior judge Lord Hutton, who is to conduct an inquiry into Dr Kelly's death, and Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, representing the government, attended the private service.

It was a beautiful service - it was quiet, it was gentle and in every kind of way, it reflected the man
Tom Mangold

The church bell tolled shortly before 1400 BST as a hearse arrived bearing a coffin topped with white roses and lilies, followed by cars carrying mourners.

Dr Kelly is thought to have committed suicide after speculation - later confirmed by the BBC - that he was the source of stories that raised concerns over the way the government presented its case for war with Iraq.

The 59-year-old's body was found in woods at Harrowdown Hill, Longworth, on 18 July.

An inquest into his death was opened and adjourned on 21 July at Oxfordshire Coroner's Court.

Follows the teachings of Baha'u'llah, an Iranian nobleman whose name means the Glory of God in Arabic
Started in the mid-19th Century and really spread to the West after 1911
Claims 6,000 followers in the UK and five million worldwide
Teaches that all different religions are different facets of the same truth
No heaven or hell, but talks of a journey to being closer to God, which begins in this life

The funeral service featured readings and prayers from the Baha'i religion, which Dr Kelly converted to four years ago.

The faith has five million followers across 235 countries and territories, with around 6,000 in the UK.

Journalist Tom Mangold, a friend of Dr Kelly who is making a film about the events leading to his death, said it was "a beautiful service", with the first hymn, Bread of Heaven, reflecting the scientist's Welsh roots.

"It was quiet, it was gentle and in every kind of way it reflected the man," he said.

"There was a reading from the Baha'i, but it was essentially a Christian service and beautifully conducted and lots of tears, lots of reflection and I think David would have loved it."

The Rev Roy Woodhams, who conducted the service, spoke of how proud Dr Kelly had been of his Rhondda background, how he loved rugby and how his friends called him Dai, said Mr Mangold.

"The vicar began by saying: 'We are here because a tragedy has taken place - we are not here for the media or to make a political statement, or to apportion blame', so he set the agenda pretty quickly," said Mr Mangold.

St Mary's Church, Longworth, Oxon
Dr Kelly is being laid to rest in St Mary's churchyard

"What is important about the funeral is that it really is a moment of great catharsis for the family ...

"They were surrounded by David's friends, by the people who knew him, who loved him and by some of the high and mighty of the land, but not that many.

"It was wonderful that the funeral could be so quiet and dignified given the circumstances surrounding his death."

A poem about the Longworth area, where Dr Kelly loved to walk, was also read at the service.

Dr Kelly was being laid to rest in the shadow of the north side of the building of the 13th Century church, where on Wednesday the Union Flag was flying at half-mast.

A pooled media facility was set up by Thames Valley Police involving a Sky News cameraman and a Press Association reporter and photographer, in an effort to maintain the "privacy and dignity" of the occasion.

The BBC's Duncan Kennedy
"A day free of politics, but full of grief and solemnity"


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