Actor Dawn French has reprised her Vicar of Dibley role for a ‘funeral’ in honour of a friend dying of breast cancer.
Kris Hallenga, aged 37, has stage-four breast cancer, and wanted to be present at her own funeral in order to say a final goodbye to her loved ones in the most positive way possible.
She’s described the service as “the best day of her life”.
The service was held in Truro Cathedral, in Cornwall, and included an ABBA sing-along and a 20-piece orchestra.
But it was French’s eulogy, complete with the robes she wore in her Vicar of Dibley role, that “blew her heart to smithereens,” Kris said in an Instagram post.
She continued: “In January, I decided I wanted to organise my own living funeral, my FUNeral, and in doing so celebrate a life that I have truly loved, surrounded by people I loved.”
“I’ve never felt love like it. I’ve never felt joy like it. I’ve never felt such kinship with mortality. I’ve never felt so alive.”
According to the Telegraph, French has described the honour as a “privilege and a joy,” describing the service as a “festival celebrating an extraordinary life”.
Hellenga is known for starting the now-renowned charity CoppaFeel!, which encourages women to check their breasts regularly. She started the organisation after being diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 23.
She’s also an ambassador for Legacy of Lives, an organisation hoping to remove the taboo around death by helping people organise their funerals.