Memorial for Lord Somerleyton attended by representative of the Queen

A prominent peer described as a 'splendid English gentleman' has been remembered during a moving memorial service attended by a representative of the Queen.

Religious leaders, civic dignitaries and more than 600 people paid their respects to Lord Somerleyton, Savile Crossley, who died at the age of 83 last month.

During a service of thanksgiving for his life, friends and close family members gave heart-felt readings which portrayed him as a man committed to his family, his estate and his charity work.

But his years of dedicated service to the monarchy was also honoured yesterday when representatives of the royal family attended the service at St Margaret's Church, Lowestoft.

The representatives included Lt Col Sir Seymour Gilbart-Denham and Lady Gilbart-Denham, representing the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh; Col Toby Brown representing the Princess Royal; Lord Tollemache, Lord-Lieutenant of Suffolk, representing the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester; Lt Col Alexander Matheson of Matheson, representing the Duke and Duchess of Kent; and Richard Jewson the Lord-Lieutenant of Norfolk.

The memorial service, led by the Lord Bishop of Norwich Rt Rev Graham James, was punctuated by laughter and reflective silence as a eulogy, and poems, were read to the congregation.

Simon Weber-Brown, who served alongside the third Baron Somerleyton in the Coldstream Guards, said the lord had every reason to be proud of his life.

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In a eulogy, Mr Weber-Brown stated: 'He was born into privilege and had grandeur thrust upon him, but he was never stuck up. He was a decent honourable man and a splendid English gentleman. And looking into the sea of faces I don't mind betting there are many people who see him the same way as I do.'

The Hon Hugh Crossley read psalm 23 in memory his father, while his sister, Alicia Pawson, read an affectionate letter which described him as having a 'twinkle in his eye'.

In the past 25 years, Lord Somerleyton supported many charities, organisations and groups including the Lowestoft and District Scout Association and the St John Ambulance who attended the service.

In his address to the congregation, the Bishop of Norwich said: 'Other people make life worth living, and he gave himself to many through his marriage, his estate and its community, the villages he served, the Cold Stream Guards, the royal household, the parish church, and his God.'

Trumpeter Sgt David Wright signalled the end of the memorial service by playing military bugle call, the Last Post.

Born on September 17, 1928, Savile Crossley was appointed lord-in-waiting to the Queen in 1978 and Master of the Horse in 1991 - one of three great offices of the state.

He retired from the Queen's Household at 70 and received the Knights Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order in the 1999 New Year Honours list in recognition of his services to the monarchy.

In 2004 Lord and Lady Somerleyton moved out of Somerleyton Hall into a smaller house on the estate, with his son the Hon Hugh Crossley and his wife Lara taking over.

Lord Somerleyton, known fondly as Bill to friends, had suffered from Alzheimer's in recent years.

He died peacefully at his home in Herringfleet on Tuesday January 26. He leaves a widow Belinda and five children – Isabel, Camilla, Alicia, Hugh and Louisa.

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