Latest BBC feature: Requiem inspired by Londoners’ epitaphs is premiered

Barbara Windsor singing

A requiem inspired by the graves of Londoners has been premiered in north London.

Benjamin Till spent two years visiting 20 graveyards and cemeteries for the funeral composition, The London Requiem.

Actress Barbara Windsor, comedian Matt Lucas, playwright Sir Arnold Wesker, folk singer Maddie Prior and pop singer Tanita Tikaram have contributed.

It was performed at Abney Park Cemetery in Stoke Newington.

‘Wonderful, loving fun’

Mr Till who lives in Hampstead, north London, said it was a trip to his local burial ground Highgate Cemetery which gave him the idea to write a requiem.

He said he was struck by the graveyard’s beauty and an inscription which read: “Be kind, for everyone we meet is fighting a hard battle.”

An epitaph in Hoop Lane Cemetery in Golders Green, north-west London, inspired the second movement of the piece, the Kyrie.

It reads: “Ever in my heart, Ever in my mind, Ever by my side. Thanks for 53 wonderful loving fun years.”

The words have been sung by Barbara Windsor.

She said: “When you get to my age – I’m 74 and I’ve experienced a hell of a lot – you don’t get many firsts.”

Continue reading here.