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On The Buses actor Stephen Lewis remembered at funeral

Published 25/08/2015

Actor Stephen Lewis
Actor Stephen Lewis

A double-decker bus marking actor Stephen Lewis's most famous role was among the floral tributes at his funeral.

The service was attended by the only surviving star of the hit show On The Buses, Anna Karen, who paid tribute to a "very funny man".

She said: "He'll be very sadly missed. He was an extremely talented and very funny man and wonderful to work with."

Lewis, best known for his role as Inspector Cyril "Blakey" Blake in the sitcom, was laid to rest after a service at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Wanstead, east London.

The service, attended by more than 100 mourners including family, friends and fans, was led by Father Martin O'Connor.

Hymns included Be Still My Soul, to a melody from Finlandia by Sibelius, and Guide Me O Thy Great Redeemer.

His great-niece Rebecca gave a reading and a eulogy to the actor was given by the wife of his nephew Peter.

She described Lewis as a "kind, generous and funny man whose family meant the world to him", adding that he would probably be "chuckling at the attention".

The actor's coffin was carried out of the church to the sound of Vera Lynn's We'll Meet Again before a burial at St Patrick's Cemetery.

The order of service featured four pictures of Lewis, including one of him as "Blakey" in full cry, pointing his finger in fury as he is provoked by the antics of bus driver Stan Butler (Reg Varney) and conductor Jack Harper (Bob Grant).

The others showed him at different stages in his life, and the line: "Remembered for the laughter he brought."

Val Buck, 64, a Eucharistic Minister at Our Lady of Lourdes, who took communion to the actor, said he was a "lovely man".

"He was so warm. He told me all about his life. He was really warm and kind."

She also said Lewis loved to repeat his famous phrases from On The Buses.

Lewis, born in Poplar, east London, in 1926, was the son of Richard Lewis, a stoker in the Royal Navy, and his wife Elizabeth.

He worked as a bricklayer, electrician's mate and carpenter and also joined the Merchant Navy before first treading the boards at the Theatre Royal in Stratford.

He went on to star in several plays, and made his West End debut in The Hostage in 1958.

His television roles also included Harry Lambert in Oh, Doctor Beeching!, as Royston Flagg in Rep, and Clem "Smiler" Hemmingway in Last Of The Summer Wine.

He died aged 88 on August 12 at Cambridge Nursing Home in Wanstead, where he lived with his sister, Connie Christopher.

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