By ALISON ANIS in The National
TEARS flowed freely during the funeral service of the late Sir Brian Bell at the St Martin’s Anglican Church in
More than 1,000 people, including family members, friends, senior management and staff of the Brian Bell Group of Companies, dignitaries, heads of businesses, departmental heads and members of the diplomatic corps, who have been touched in one way or the other by the generosity of Sir Brian, flooded the church to bid him farewell.
Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare and Governor-General Sir Paulias Matane, opposition leader Sir Mekere Morauta, Mining Minister John Pundari and Abau MP Sir Puka Temu were also there to pay their respects.
Former prime ministers Paias Wingti and Sir Rabbie Namaliu also attended the funeral service.
Branch managers of the Brian Bell group from Kokopo, Mt Hagen, Lae and Goroka also attended the funeral service on behalf of their staff.
Most noticeable was the build-up of everyday people, men and women from the informal sector, outside the church grounds yesterday.
Some of these people wept openly when the casket containing the remains of Sir Brian was taken out for its journey to the 9-Mile cemetery for burial.
One could only wonder how the late veteran businessman might have touched the lives of these individuals.
The church was filled to capacity and extra tents were erected outside the church grounds to accommodate some of the staff members and beneficiaries of his many good deeds.
The funeral programme was broadcast live on Kundu 2 Television.
Well-wishers arrived at the church well before 9am to say goodbye.
A sudden hush overcame the group of well-wishers as the casket carrying Sir Brian’s body arrived at the church at 11am at the sound of police sirens.
Oro dancers from Northern welcomed the casket as they shouted “Oro, Oro, Oro”, to the late Sir Brian.
This was followed by the reflective sound of the bagpipes by the Correctional Services band that accompanied the casket into the church.
Most fitting was the farewell song by Marina Prior, daughter of Sir Brian’s friend, Grand Prior in dedication to him.
The ceremony lasted about two hours before the body was transferred for burial.
At around 3pm, Sir Brian, the man who touched countless lives through his generosity, humility, honesty, commitment and hard work was finally laid to rest next to his wife Jean Ann Bell at the 9-Mile cemetery.