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Actors, politicians and royalty pay respects to Sir John Mortimer

Celebration of Rumpole creator's life at Southwark Cathedral one year after lawyer and playwright's death

For a man who did not believe in God, only a cathedral was big enough to accommodate Sir John Mortimer's many friends and admirers for a memorial service today.

Actually, the event at Southwark Cathedral in London was billed as a celebration of the life of the lawyer, author, playwright, entertainer and wit, who died last January at the age of 85, and that turned out to be more appropriate than a service. The thing about the Church of England is that you don't have to be religious to get your day in church.

It made for a good house as the performer in him would undoubtedly have acknowledged and, if God was not entirely absent from the proceedings, the biblical readings, prayers, psalms and hymns were outnumbered by readings from the canon of Mortimer himself,

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