Following his death last month, a private family funeral took place in Newmarket, before his body was flown to Scotland for burial at his mother’s ancestral home, Crathes Castle, near Aberdeen. That was chosen as his final resting place as Cecil was brought up by his mother, after his father was killed in the Second World War, weeks before he was born.
Lady Cecil released details of the memorial service on the Warren Place website, saying that the service will give owners, staff and friends from throughout Cecil’s life to remember him.
Lady Cecil said: “Since Henry died it has been our intention to hold a service where his life could be celebrated. He touched so many people’s lives, something that was made very clear by all the wonderful correspondence we received after he died and also the kind coverage across the media. We feel Ely Cathedral will make a fitting venue for the service. It is a magnificent building and one that Henry appreciated himself. He enjoyed telling people that it could be seen on a clear day from the Newmarket gallops. The details of the service are still being finalised but it will include appropriate tributes and memories of Henry’s life and career.”
The family considered venues in Newmarket itself, including both the Rowley Mile racecourse and the Tattersalls sales ring, but rejected these in favour of somewhere larger. Ely Cathedral can seat 1200 people, and I expect it will be full. Let’s hope for a clear day so that the 13 miles that separates Ely from Newmarket can be bridged with the naked eye.