A British woman's dying wish: a funeral dance to the tune of yet another song that bites the dust

A British woman’s dying wish: a funeral dance to the tune of yet another song that bites the dust


When Sandy Wood was diagnosed with tongue cancer in February that quickly became terminal, she hatched a plan. Her funeral will not be a sad and dreary occasion. This was not the way she lived.

“She wasn’t a boring person,” Wood’s close friend, Samantha Ryals, told The Washington Post. “It wasn’t traditional either. She wanted her funeral to mirror her funeral.”

Wood, 65, wanted her coffin brought in late, because she didn’t get to things on time. She imagined it stained purple and emblazoned with letters that read: “Going out in style.” she He requested that the funeral priest swear as much as possible.

A troupe of dancers crashes her funeral without warning and performs a routine to “Another One Bites the Dust” from Quinn.

That’s exactly what happened on November 4 at the crematorium in Bristol, England, when Ryalls and a group of Wood’s friends managed to arrange a unique send-off that met her wildest requests.

In the middle of mass, Queen’s famous bass suddenly blares across the hall and several dancers stand up, discard their jackets, and break into a three-minute routine. Video of Wood’s funeral went viral on social media after a BBC report this week captured the scene. Ryals said it was all her friend wanted.

“She wanted us to remember her as the terrible person she was,” Ryals said.

Rials, who met Wood on pub darts, described her as the life of the party. She recalled her friend who wore bright colors and told animated stories from years spent working as a waitress in pubs across Bristol. Wood loved shoes and insisted on decorating his casket and horse-drawn coffin with an array of heels, wedges, and studs.

“She was just a huge character,” Ryals said.

The dancing crowd that flooded her funeral almost didn’t happen. Finding a dance team to take on Wood’s dying request proved difficult, said Ryals. It was rejected by 10 groups, some of whom called the proposal disrespectful. In desperation, I posted a request on Facebook.

When cabaret dancer Claire Phipps saw the post, she couldn’t believe her luck.

“All summer I’ve been talking to people about really wanting a funeral,” Phipps told The Post. “But everyone looked at me like I was crazy, like that would never happen.”

Phipps, who runs a dance troupe in Bristol called the Flaming Feathers, said she was excited to take on the challenge. After receiving Wood’s song request, the group, who usually perform at cabarets and festivals, engineered a routine and rehearsed for several weeks.

They then sneak into Wood’s funeral in front of the crowd to seize suitable seats.

“It was nerve-wracking,” Phipps said. “Because we didn’t know how it would be taken.”

By the end of the song, to Phipps’ relief, people were clapping and laughing.

Wood died of tongue cancer in September, seven months after she was diagnosed in February. She was already suffering from a hepatitis C infection, Rials said, having been treated decades ago with tainted blood by Britain’s National Health Service, as part of a national scandal that led to a public inquiry in 2019.

Rials said Wood’s battle with cancer was traumatic. But her sense of humor kept her going.

“She was dying,” Ryals said. “She used to say that the medicine is laughter.”

It was also medicine for those closest to Wood. Sandy’s husband, Mark Wood, also didn’t know about her strange plans, he told The Post. At the funeral, grief consumed him and he couldn’t concentrate. Then the music started playing – Sandy’s music.

“I said, ‘Yeah, that’s Sandy,’” Mark said. “There was a big smile on my face because it was her. She didn’t want me to know that because she wanted to surprise me. And boy, didn’t you? “

The funeral lifted Mark Wood’s spirits. Sandy was “one in a million,” he said, and he’s still struggling to sleep since her death. He expressed his frustration over the NHS scandal, which enraged Sandy. The British government announced in August that affected patients would receive about $122,000 in compensation, but Mark Wood said he wished the government would also apologize.

But he said Sandy got the farewell she deserved.

“If she was looking down, she would smile,” Mark said.

Sandy asked that her loved ones Ryals said I would end the funeral by going out in line for a conga, which everyone happily obliged. After the excitement, she had one last wish: that her funeral would make headlines around the world.

“The last wish we couldn’t fulfill has already happened,” Ryals said. “It’s unbelievable.”

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