A WOMAN had the last laugh from beyond the grave after having her friend dress as the Grim Reaper to attend her funeral. 

Practical joker Sharon Taffs, from Maldon, died following a battle with breast cancer in December last year.

The funeral of the 68-year-old was held on March 16, delayed by a five-week church closure, and followed a detailed plan with specific wishes voiced by Mrs Taffs. 

Mrs Taffs passed away at Farleigh Hospice, which, according to her family, cared amazingly for her during her last days. 

Braintree and Witham Times:

Her daughter Louise Miller, 49, from Witham, said her mother sat down with her and one of her friends to go over the details of her memorial service.

The friend then suggested dressing up as the Grim Reaper to point at people saying, “You’re next”, as a joke, but Mrs Taffs thought the idea was hilarious and asked him to do it for the service. 

Braintree and Witham Times:

Her daughter Louise said: “That was just her sense of humour, and also the sense of humour in our family. 

“When she found out she was dying, my son bought her a mug saying, ‘This is your last cup of tea’ and she loved it.” 

Both Louise and Mrs Taffs’ friend had to promise to go along with the plan. 

As it was a pre-planned joke, family, her other three children friends were warned in advance of the memorial service, with a few guests deciding not to attend. 

“My mum didn’t want people to wear black, but instead wanted white. Some people said they didn’t have white clothes, so we just said then don’t come. 

Braintree and Witham Times:

“She was quite the face in the church and she spoke with the pastor  

As requested by Mrs Taff, all guests came dressed in white and ‘Dominick the Donkey’, a popular Italian Christmas song, was played for her friend Maria. 

“The service wasn’t really a funeral, it was the Thanksgiving celebration of her life," she said.

“So many people said that was the best funeral they have ever been to.

"She wanted it to be happy and she didn’t want anybody to be sad and cry. 

“I do not feel sad thinking back about it and I know that’s what she wanted. 

“I’m sure she would love knowing that she made it into the news after her death.” 

As part of her will, her husband and grandson will scatter her ashes on Ben Nevis this summer.