|Chiswick Bids Farewell To Anne Naysmith|
More than four hundred people attend her funeral service at St Michael & All Angels
An estimated 400-500 people attended the funeral of Anne Naysmith at St Michael & All Angels Church in Chiswick yesterday (March 7).
There was standing room only in the church as hundreds of neighbours, friends, and local people of all ages, came to pay tribute to Miss Naysmith, who died last month, aged 78.
Bright spring sunshine flooded in as the congregation arrived for the service at the church in Bath Road. The Mayor of Hounslow, Cllr Corinna Smart, represented the borough, and local MP Mary Macleod was also in attendance, along with local councillors John Todd, Gerald McGregor and Felicity Barwood.
Members of the clergy present included Fr Simon Brandes, Vicar of St Nicholas and Fr Gillean Craig, Vicar of St Mary Abbots.
Fr Kevin addresses the congregation
The local police team were also present, led by Turnham Green beat manager Sgt Dave Turtle and PCSO Cheryl Silsbury who had befriended Miss Naysmith.
A selection of music had been chosen to reflect Anne Naysmith's love for music and her early life as a concert pianist. Piano music played before the service included Rachmaninov and Chopin and and the Organ prelude was 'Nimrod' from Elgar's Enigma Variations. The choral funeral service included music by Handel, Faure, Stanford, and Bach.
The Mayor of Hounslow Cllr Corinna Smart arriving
The service was conducted by the Vicar of St Michael's, Fr Kevin Morris, who described Anne Naysmith as a proud, dignified person who had chosen an alternative lifestyle based on simplicity and who lived a life of total integrity. He recalled her great joy of gardening, music, and cricket and said she delighted in life and in her own independence. People found that she could be "difficult" at times and she was very private.
The choir at St Michael's - image courtesy of Chiswick Buzz TV
Fr Kevin recalled that his last conversation with Anne Naysmith was one in which she wanted to discuss what she should give up for Lent. She was someone with a profound faith, he said.
Cllr Gerald McGregor said Anne Naysmith had been feature of life in Chiswick for more than four decades. "She never blamed people, she was philosophical in her distress and she had a Christian forbearance and tolerance that those who merely saw her as a bag lady or street sleeper would find hard to accept"
Friend and neighbour Sally Mates said that Miss Naysmith's car had been parked in her street for several years. "It was the ferocity of her independence which kept her alive and the street is the poorer for her passing", she said.
Hazel Hardy and Suzanne Barry - image courtesy of Chiswick Buzz TV
The poem, 'Footprints In The Sand' was read by Hazel Hardy and Suzanne Barry, neighbours from the Welsted Way area where Anne Naysmith had her garden. Readings were by local resident John Power, and Sue Allen, a social worker from Hounslow Council, who had dealings with the deceased for many years.
Cllr Gerald McGregor and Sally Mates - image courtesy of Chiswick Buzz TV
Fr Simon Brandes, vicar of St Nicholas Church, led the prayers and the Commendation was led by Fr Gillean Craig, Vicar of St Mary Abbots. Anne Naysmith was a frequent visitor to both churches but had a special relationship with St Michael & All Angels.
Image courtesy of Chiswick Buzz TV
Image courtesy of Chiswick Buzz TV
Mary Macleod MP and Cllr John Todd attended
After the funeral service, the hearse proceeded to New Chiswick Cemetery for burial. A book of condolence has been opened in the Church.
The hearse prepares to leave
Hounslow Council plans to plant a tree in Chiswick in honour of Anne Naysmith at a later date.
John Power, PCSO Cheryl Spilsbury and Sgt Dave Turtle
Anne Naysmith was born as Anne Smith, in Southend on January 13th 1937 and died on February 10th 2015, aged 78, following an accident on Chiswick High Road. Her death attracted a great deal of public attention and became a focus for media attention both at home and abroad.
She was a well-known local character and lived for many years in a car in Prebend Gardens following eviction from her home. She was sometimes referred to as 'Chiswick's Lady In A Van' and had been a concert pianist in her earlier life before falling on hard times. In the 1960, she had given a recital in the Wigmore Hall, where she played Rachmaninov's Preludes (Op-23) to critical acclaim.
The Royal Academy of Music has continued to accept donations towards a scholarship in her memory to help give grants to young musicians. People are asked to use any of the following methods, either directly to the Academy as follows:
Local resident Ros Elwes (on left) walked the 13 mile Big Issue Foundation fundraising night walk in Central London to celebrate Anne Naysmith's life and arrived at St Michael's Church in time for the funeral.
The death of Miss Anne Naysmith is being investigated by the MPS Serious Collision Investigation Unit (Merton) in consultation with Hounslow Borough Police. The investigating officers have now gathered together all available evidence to try to piece together the sequence of events surrounding the events of Tuesday 10th February 2015. The enquiry team are keeping an open mind as to the circumstances of the collision and will ensure the local community are consulted and updated in due course once further information is known.
The Serious Collision Investigation Unit would like to place on record their thanks for all the offers of assistance and send their condolences to the local Chiswick community.
March 7, 2015