Four Funerals ..... and a Wedding

Paul Whitelock

Wednesday, May 24, 2023


No, it’s not a sequel to the famous film starring Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell, but simply a reflection on my experience so far this year when I have attended four funerals. 

By the way, I lied about the wedding!

When you’re in your twenties you go to lots of weddings and very few funerals. In your seventies, it’s the other way round – obviously, really.

But I’ve been to two funerals in the space of four days. That’s rather too many in a short space of time, I'd say.

Guy Hunter-Watts


Last Friday, it was my friend Guy Hunter-Watts, English, long-time resident of Andalucía and celebrated author and walking guide, who lived in the neighbouring village, Montecorto (Malaga). He had a bike accident and sadly died as a result of serious head injuries, aged just 64.


 Jesper Sander Petersen


Yesterday, May 23, 2023, my Danish friend Jesper Sander Pedersen, president of the Costa Press Club, was “buried” in Torremolinos (Malaga). He suffered an aneurism in February, was in and out of a coma in hospital since then and finally passed away this week. He was only 61.


Heather May Davies (1941 - 2023)

In January, we buried my half-sister, Heather Davies, in Port Talbot, South Wales, who died after a long battle against Parkinson’s Disease. She was 83.


And just before that, also in January, most of the village of Montejaque (Malaga), including me, turned out for the funeral of Antonio, our neighbour and friend, who died of cancer in his early 60s.

Funerals can be very different. Those of Antonio and Jesper were very Roman Catholic and ritualistic, and for me, unnecessarily sombre. Guy’s was a hybrid version, held in the local church with a Spanish Catholic mass with contributions in English. It was a celebration of Guy’s life and, whilst sad, also uplifting. 

Heather’s funeral service at the crematorium near Port Talbot (Glamorgan), was also a celebration of her life with a moving eulogy from her only son, Cerith. That service was also in two languages: Welsh and English.

Only Heather was older than I am now, so I am feeling very mortal. But, as they say, when your time is up, that’s it.

RIP Antonio, Heather, Guy and Jesper.

© Paul Whitelock