Spain bids Seve farewell

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A funeral filled with many touching moments was held for Seve Ballesteros in his home village of Pedrena on Wednesday.

A funeral filled with many touching moments was held for Seve Ballesteros in his home village of Pedrena on Wednesday.

An escort of young children dressed in navy blue each clutched a three-iron as part of a procession making its way to the church of San Pedro de Pedrena, in honour of the colours he wore for many of his most memorable victories, including his second Open Championship victory at St Andrews in 1984, and the rusty three-iron that first got Ballesteros hooked on the game as a seven-year-old.

A photograph from that memorable win in 1984, capturing Seve’s fist-pump as he sunk the winning putt, was placed alongside the urn containing his ashes for the service at the church.

The urn was brought to the church by a procession led by a piper, followed by his three children, his older brothers, and a congregation of players, caddies and administrators. Even Spain’s Prince Felipe was part of the procession.

Aside from his major victories, it is the Ryder Cup with which he is most often associated, both as a highly successful player for many years, and as captain in 1997, and six Ryder Cup captains were also in attendance – Bernard Gallacher, Sam Torrance, Ian Woosnam, Sir Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie and current captain Jose Maria Olazabal, his playing partner for so many memorable Ryder Cup victories.

For Olazabal, the young protégé, more than most, it has been a particularly emotional period.

Ballesteros’ wishes for the funeral were that it take place in a familiar setting, open to all in his village, and that he wished to be treated “like any other neighbour” during the ceremony.

Three big screens were set up outside the church so that others could also follow the ceremony, and Spanish state TV broadcast the event live from the village.

The service was conducted by parish priests from Pedrena, Santander and Suances, and afterwards the ashes were taken back to his home and placed next to the magnolia tree he had chosen as his final resting place.

Outside his home, a small makeshift shrine was erected, with candles, notes, a pair of golf shoes and even a three-iron being left as tributes to one of Europe’s greatest ever sportsmen.

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