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Yoko and Stella join loved ones saying goodbye to 'fifth Beatle'

April 7, 2008
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It was a day full of fond memories, emotion and music as friends and family gathered to say their farewells to Neil Aspinall, the man known as the 'fifth Beatle' and the legendary outfit's van driver, longtime confidante and business guru.

Among the 250 mourners who gathered to pay their respects at a memorial service in Neil's local church in Twickenham, southwest London, were John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono and Paul McCartney's fashion designer daughter Stella. Though Yoko and Stella's father have had their differences in the past, any family disputes were clearly put aside as the two women embraced before the service.

Stella and her brother James were representing their father, who could not be at the service as he was out of the country on a pre-arranged engagement. Two weeks ago Paul made a bedside visit to Neil in New York before his childhood friend lost his battle with cancer aged 66.

Also among those paying their respects was Ringo Starr's wife Barbara Bach and Yoko's stepson Julian Lennon. Contributing a reading to the service was former EastEnder John Altman - aka Nick Cotton - who was a Twickenham neighbour of the Liverpool-born financial guru.

In a touching tribute The Who frontman Pete Townsend took out his guitar during the service and sang two of Neil's favourite songs, My Sweet Lord by the late George Harrison, and Bob Dylan's Mr Tamborine Man.

Neil met Paul and George at school and went on to become the band's minder, personal fixer, driver, and even backing singer on Yellow Submarine, before taking the helm at The Beatles' hugely successful music label Apple Corps in 1968.

After the memorial event Neil's family attended a private funeral service. He leaves behind his wife Suzy and their five children.

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Photo: ©
Barbara Bach, wife of Beatles drummer Ringo Starr, and John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono were among the high profile faces from Neil's past attending the memorial servicePhoto: © Rex
Photo: ©
On hand to represent her father Paul, who was unable to attend due to a previous commitment, was fashion designer Stella McCartney Photo: © Rex
Photo: ©
Pictured with the Fab Four in their heyday, Neil (top right) became friends with Paul and George at school. He eventually took over the band's hugely successful record labelPhoto: © Getty Images

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