Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Alan Coren's memorial service 'targeted by funeral crashers'

The daughter of journalist Alan Coren has told how she uncovered a bizarre plot by a group of serial funeral goers to gatecrash his memorial service.

Mr Coren, the former editor of Punch and team captain on the BBC's Call My Bluff, died from cancer in October last year.

His daughter, the writer Victoria Coren, planned a service for him at St Bride's Church in London which was held in September this year.

However, following an anonymous tip-off Ms Coren discovered that among those who had emailed asking to attend was a certain Terence Jolley, who claimed to have worked with her father at the BBC. In fact Mr Jolley, a colourful character who is both a former magistrate and convicted fraudster, is a serial attendee at such events in honour of people he does not know.

Miss Coren also found other applications for invitations from people she had never heard of who gave addresses that did not match official records.

She wrote in The Observer: "Suddenly we were being targeted by an Ealing Comedy gang who bumbled around southern England gargling free booze in the slipstream of coffins. It was funny. It was also creepy, parasitic and sinister."

Full story here. You can read Victoria Coren's excellent article here.

There were two women who'd never met my dad appeared at his funeral. As they were knocking back the sherry after, they explained they'd heard about him and said he seemed like a good man.

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