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Final farewell to music legend
IT is not often that the bustling market town of Thame is quiet.
But yesterday the main street fell absolutely silent as hundreds of residents lined the streets to bid farewell to a music legend.
Bee Gees star and Thame resident Robin Gibb died on May 20 after a lengthy battle with cancer and pneumonia.
He was laid to rest at St Mary’s Church, just feet away from the home he lived in for nearly 30 years.
Well-wishers of all ages stretched from Mr Gibb’s home in Priest End up to the town hall and back again.
At 2pm, a horse-drawn glass carriage covered in red roses made its way down the high street, led by a piper. Fans fell silent, cried, and some threw flowers at the white coffin, covered with the flag of his birthplace, the Isle of Man.
Behind the carriage were Mr Gibb’s Irish wolfhounds, Ollie and Missy, and a dozen training corps cadets. The procession made its way up to the town hall then came back to the church, where pallbearers took the coffin inside.
It was met by Mr Gibb’s brother Barry, dressed in black and wearing dark glasses, and his widow Dwina, among other friends and family. The church service lasted 45 minutes and was led by the Rev Alan Garratt.
The white coffin was brought in to one of the Bee Gee’s best-known hits How Deep Is Your Love.
Barry Gibb, the sole surviving brother of the trio, told the congregation: “Life is too short. In Robin’s case, absolutely too short. We should have had 20 years, 30 years of his magnificent mind and his beautiful heart.”
Referring to the late Maurice Gibb, who died in 2003, he said: “They were both beautiful. And now they’re together. They’re actually together. When you’re twins, you’re twins all your life. You go through every emotion. And they’re finally together. I think the greatest pain for Robin in the past 10 years was losing his twin brother, and I think it did all kinds of things to him. And now they’re together.”
Mr Gibb’s elderly mother, Barbara, left the church just before his brother’s eulogy.
After the service, the family came outside to watch the coffin lowered into the ground.
Many of the hundreds of fans who attended spoke of their love of Mr Gibb’s music and what he had meant to them.
Jenny Priest, 53, from Thame, said: “I’ve lived here for about as long as Robin had and I grew up listening to his music.
“It was quite something for everyone here to know he lived in Thame. It is so sad.”
Pat Timberlake, 69, from Haddenham said: “It’s a piece of our past gone forever.”
Alongside his brothers, Mr Gibb sold more than 200 million records worldwide.
He moved to Thame in 1983 and was often seen around the town, turning on the Christmas lights in 2004.
Owners at the nearby Mia Capri Italian restaurant displayed a large banner outside, reading ‘Ciao Robin’.
Co-owner Lidia Stinga said: “He came in here all the time, he was a friendly person. Just because he was important, that didn’t mean anything – he would talk to anyone.”