Alexandra Bastedo column - In memoriam

Patrick Garland

Patrick Garland - Credit: Archant

Alexandra Bastedo looks back on an eventful autumn, which included a rememberance service for her late husband, Patrick Garland.

The autumn was very busy with all manner of things happening. After my husband Patrick Garland’s death in April I decided to hold a memorial for his friends in September. The Dean of Chichester Cathedral very kindly offered to hold it in that historic building. Patrick, as the Artistic Director of the Chichester Festival Theatre for over 10 years, had close connections with the Cathedral during that period. We were married in the Cathedral at the beginning of his tenure and the former Bishop Eric Kemp and his wife had given us the beautiful Bishop’s Palace in which to hold the reception.

Patrick then went on to direct T.S. Elliot’s Murder in the Cathedral there, starring Keith Michell, which proved to be a big success. He later wrote his book, Oswald the Owl, about the owl that sheltered in the Cathedral during the hurricane of 1987, who would follow the choristers down the aisle, hooting as it went.

The actor Simon Callow, his great friend, put the memorial together with Patricia Routledge, Dame Eileen Atkins, Alan Bennett and the Dean speaking. The beautiful music was from Simon Mulligan, the international concert pianist (Patrick’s godson), the most harmonious Copper Family, Franck Leprince and his Pandora String Quartet, Alex Watson and her Bastedo Band of soul singers, and of course the organist and lovely choir. If memorials can be joyful then it was, although one of his friends called it uplifting, which may be the better definition. There were so many of our friends from our years in London, Chichester and West Chiltington, not to mention France, Canada and the States. It was very moving to see them all there. From the theatre, Penny Keith, Susan Hampshire, Peter Egan, Christopher Timothy, Keith Michell, Roy Dotrice, Simon Williams, Kate O’Mara and Virginia Mckenna were just some of the actors in attendance, while John Gale, Duncan Weldon, and Andrew Welch (former Chichester Theatre Administrators and Directors) and Alan Finch, the present Executive Director, were also there. We were most privileged to have the representative of the Prince of Wales, Sir Donald Sinden, and the Duke and Duchess of Richmond and Gordon. There was also a contingent of trustees and volunteers from the Animal Sanctuary who had known Patrick in his later, frailer years.

In October I was persuaded to give a dinner talk at the Golden Willow Restaurant in Storrington – the subject being the autobiography I am writing on my life called Life is not a Dress Rehearsal – for our Animal Champion and Animal Friend Supporters. It includes my life as a single girl/actress, the years as Patrick’s wife when he was running the theatre and lastly the formation of the ABC (Alexandra Bastedo Champions) Animal Sanctuary, with 150 animals. It has certainly been a varied life!