Robin Gibb funeral: Barry Gibb, family and friends turn out to bid the star a final farewell
Barry Gibb yesterday revealed the solace he finds in knowing that his siblings, twins Robin and Maurice, have now been reunited – and that he will join them both one day too.
“They were both beautiful. And now they’re together,” said Barry Gibb, his voice trembling with emotion, as he addressed the congregation at Robin’s funeral.
Barry Gibb, 65, the only remaining member of the group he formed with his younger siblings in 1958 which went on to sell more than 200 million records worldwide, told mourners: “When you’re twins, you’re twins all your life. You go through every emotion.”
Robin Gibb died last month aged 62 after a long battle with colon cancer.
Maurice Gibb died of complications resulting from a twisted intestine in 2003 aged 53.
At yesterday’s service at St Mary’s Church in Thame, Oxfordshire, Barry Gibb spoke of Robin’s “magnificent mind and beautiful heart”.
Barry Gibb also read a poem he had written called Ode To Rob, which included the lines: “We will all be together one day. So fly away Rob, fly away.”
Among the 300-strong congregation were celebrities including Sir Tim Rice, Uri Geller, DJs Mike Read, Paul Gambaccini and David “Kid” Jensen, singer Peter Andre, actress Susan George and 88-year-old actor Leslie Phillips.
Robin Gibb’s widow Dwina, 59, an author and artist, read a poem called My Songbird Has Flown, including the words: “No music can be heard that is sweeter than the language of his love, no diamond is more precious than the memory of his twinkling eyes.”
Dwina and Robin Gibb’s son Robin-John, 28, kissed his father’s white coffin after telling mourners his “best friend and daddy” is “always only a song away”.
Absent from the service, however, was Claire Yang, the former housekeeper with whom Robin Gibb fathered a daughter, Snow, aged four.
Claire Yang was reportedly “unwelcome” and spent the day a few miles away at her home in Amersham, Buckinghamshire.
A source said that security guards had been briefed “to keep an eye out for her”.
However, Snow was mentioned by Barry Gibb at the end of his eulogy as “little Snow” in a list of close family members.
Barry Gibb also referred to the fourth Gibb brother, Andy, also a singer, who died aged 30 in 1988, saying that to have lost three siblings was “a very strange experience”.
And referring to the Bee Gees’ days of packing out arenas to adoring audiences across the globe, Barry Gibb said: “The three of us have seen a lot of crowds but I’ve never seen so much love in one crowd as I’m looking at today.”
The coffin was taken to the church in a glass-sided, horse-drawn carriage topped with red roses.
The coffin itself was draped with the flag of the Isle of Man, where all three Bee Gees were born.
Robin and Dwina Gibb’s home, a converted 13th century monastery, is opposite the church but the carriage travelled along the market town’s high street first as it was among Robin’s last wishes that he could “say a final goodbye to fans and his home town”.
The cortege was followed by Robin Gibb’s two Irish wolfhounds, Ollie and Missy.
The coffin entered the church to the sound of the Bee Gees’ hit How Deep Is Your Love.
Barry Gibb also spoke of his brother’s sense of humor: “There was no funnier man than Spike Milligan – apart from Robin.
“And his sharp, intuitive wit will live with us forever.
“You could stand Robin next to Spike Milligan and it would be a competition.”
He hinted at recent tensions between himself and Robin, however, saying: “We were laughing all the way. Sometimes crying. God knows how much we argued.
“Even right up to the end we found conflict with each other, which now means nothing. It just means nothing. If there’s conflict in your lives – get rid of it.”
Robin Gibb’s elderly mother, Barbara, left the church just before Barry gave his eulogy.
He told the congregation: “This is a very strange experience, having already lost two brothers and now Rob.
“I think there are an awful lot of things happening right now that maybe you won’t be aware of. And one is how many people came on such a terrible day. It is staggering.
“So many people loved this boy, so many illustrious people are here that loved him. And that is such a pleasure to witness.
“The three of us have seen a lot of crowds but I’ve never seen so much love in one crowd as I’m looking at today – for Rob, you know, for the music. And it’s an intense experience for me.
“I think it’s an experience none of us will forget. We will keep him in our hearts and minds forever.”
Robin Gibb’s family and friends were joined by hundreds of fans, who lined the streets as a glass horse-drawn carriage covered in red roses made its way down the town’s high street on the way to the funeral.
Family members including Robin Gibb’s wife Dwina, his children Spencer, Melissa and RJ, Barry, his wife Linda and his son Stevie, were pictured leading the procession on foot from the gate house of their estate to St Mary’s Church.
It had been Robin Gibb’s wish to “say a final goodbye to fans and his home town of Thame”, according to his family.
Robin Gibb died from kidney failure last month after fighting colon cancer and pneumonia.
Peter Andre, who was a close friend of the musician, was front and centre to place a rose on the coffin at the burial.
He announced last week that he plans to release a tribute single using music written for him by Robin Gibb shortly before his death.
“He very kindly wrote a song for me recently and I’m determined to finish working on it when I get back to the UK,” he said.
“I’m going to release it and make sure all the proceeds go to his favorite charity.”
St Mary’s church is opposite the home which the musician had shared with wife Dwina for 19 years.
Two candles flickered at the front of the church as some guests entered in tears, to take their places on wooden seats surrounded by pink and white flowers.
They were issued with an order of service printed with a black and white picture of Robin Gibb on the front cover, and images of red roses throughout.
An image of the three members of the Bee Gees – Robin, Maurice and Barry – was on the back.