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Monday, June 28, 1999 Published at 18:37 GMT 19:37 UK


UK Politics

Final farewell to Lord Sutch

Mourners listened to the ceremony outside the church

Leopardskin armbands, a cavalcade of motorbikes and rock and roll were among the elements of a funeral service for Monster Raving Loony Party leader Screaming Lord Sutch.

Hundreds of mourners who remembered Lord Sutch's musical and political careers attended the colourful funeral service at a suburban London church.

Lord Sutch, who was the longest-serving party leader as head of the Monster Raving Loonies, was found hanged at his home on 16 June after apparently committing suicide.

The rock musician, who changed his name from David Edward Sutch to Screaming Lord Sutch, 3rd Earl of Harrow by deed poll in the 1960s, had never got over the death of his mother Nancy two years ago.


[ image: Campaiging with a familiar friend in 1992]
Campaiging with a familiar friend in 1992
He became a fixture of British political life after founding the Monster Raving Loony Party in 1963.

He fought more than 40 elections in his trademark top hat and gold lame suit, memorably overtaking Lord Owen's SDP in the 1990 Bootle by-election.

More than 250 mourners attended the service at St Paul's Church in South Harrow, while another 150 gathered outside to listen to it being broadcast on loud speakers.

The 50-minute service included hymns as well as Chuck Berry's Roll Over Beethoven which led to dancing among mourners outside the church.

Bouquet and boots

Lord Sutch's partner of the last two years, Yvonne Elwood, and many of her fellow mourners wore armbands in Lord Sutch's trademark leopardskin print.

Many of the congregation also sported rock and roll clothes with others wearing Monster Raving Loony badges.

The funeral convoy, which included a cavalcade of motorbikes, featured various floral tributes and a pair of the politician's leopardskin boots stuffed with a bouquet.

The casket was adorned with lilies and one of his famous top hats.


[ image: Brush with power: Outside Downing Street in 1974]
Brush with power: Outside Downing Street in 1974
During the service, his election and campaigns agent John Tempest, told mourners: "What can we say about the man who posed the impossible question: Why is there only one Monopolies Commission?

"And who regularly gave his age as 10 years younger than it was, then added 'plus VAT'."

He told how Lord Sutch's mother encouraged him to stand for Parliament and helped him make his outrageous costumes.

The congregation heard how Lord Sutch's bad time-keeping was the inspiration for his policy of decimal time - where there would be 100 seconds to the minute, and 100 minutes to the hour.

Party will continue

Mr Tempest said Screaming Lord Sutch was "a man the world will never see the like of again".

The congregation were told of the lifelong closeness between the Lord Sutch and his mother and how the rock and roll politician had battled against depression since her passing.

Alan Hope, the temporary leader of the Monster Raving Loonies pledged to carry on the tradition of its founder.

Mr Hope, until recently the party's only office holder as mayor of the Devon town of Ashburton, said after the funeral: "My personal opinion is that we should continue the party and that is what David would have wanted.

"We will be holding our annual conference in September to make a final decision and I think either we will get stronger and stronger or members will decide to finish it in [Sutch's] memory."

Lord Sutch was buried in a private ceremony in Pinner New Cemetery.

An inquest into his death is expected to reopen next month.



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