Tributes paid to dance teacher as Southsea theatre hosts its first funeral

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SHE was born to dance and so it seemed appropriate that Lynda Hawkins’ funeral should take place on stage at the Kings Theatre.

It was the first time that the theatre in Southsea had hosted a funeral.

CEREMONY Left, Andy Searson from the Searson Family Funeral Service and, right, daughter of Lynda, Claire Hawkins, speaking at Lynda's funeral service at the Kings Theatre. Picture: Allan Hutchings (14498-272)

CEREMONY Left, Andy Searson from the Searson Family Funeral Service and, right, daughter of Lynda, Claire Hawkins, speaking at Lynda's funeral service at the Kings Theatre. Picture: Allan Hutchings (14498-272)

The coffin of the lady known as ‘Miss Lynda’ was laid on the stage surrounded by flowers and balloons and around 200 people packed into the theatre for the ceremony.

Lynda, who lived in Hilsea and died last month aged 65, set up a dancing school with her sister Janet, called the Williams School of Dance.

During the moving ceremony, her daughter Claire Hawkins, 37, said: ‘Our mum was a great character. She had a great sense of humour and a wonderful smile.

‘I was very proud that my mum was a dance teacher. We all have wonderful memories of the Williams School of Dance.’

CEREMONY The packed theatre at Lynda's funeral service at the Kings Theatre. Picture: Allan Hutchings (14498-112)

CEREMONY The packed theatre at Lynda's funeral service at the Kings Theatre. Picture: Allan Hutchings (14498-112)

Lynda won many awards for her dancing when she was younger, having also performed on stage at the Kings.

Many productions from the Williams School of Dance took place at the theatre as well.

During the service, photographs were shown of Lynda during different stages of her life and songs including Robbie Williams’ Angels and the Spice Girls’ Mama were played.

Lynda’s brother Antony Williams said: ‘On behalf of my family it’s lovely to see so many familiar faces.

Order of service for the funeral service held at the Kings Theatre, Southsea for Lynda Hawkins.

Order of service for the funeral service held at the Kings Theatre, Southsea for Lynda Hawkins.

‘Thank you all for coming to the theatre for a celebration of a daughter, sister, wife, mother and grandmother.

‘Lynda’s love of drama, comedy and dance left her a natural performer.

‘She always did well at the local festivals.

‘Her love was her teaching and later on her sister joined together to form the Williams School of Dance, creating the highlight of her life.

‘The school was so successful, producing hundreds of pupils that started their dancing life, many going on to careers within the entertainment industry.

‘She changed and touched so many lives and we are grateful for knowing Miss Lynda.’

Andy Searson, from the Searson Family Funeral Service, who led the service, said: ‘It’s a unique and creative celebration to a lady who held this place so close to her heart.

‘She was a lady who was always up for a laugh. Miss Lynda had a great sense of humour.

‘She did like to take the spotlight and she did like to be centre stage.’

Lynda was buried at Kingston cemetery in Portsmouth.