THE flag fluttered at half-mast over Winchester, the bells pealed and the people of Hampshire gathered to say goodbye to a long-serving former bishop.

The Right Rev Michael Scott-Joynt died on September 27, aged 71, three years after his retirement as Bishop, a position he held for 16 years.

Around 800 people gathered at the cathedral yesterday to pay their final respects at the two-hour ceremony.

Guests included Dame Mary Fagan, who recently retired as Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, Mayor of Winchester, Eileen Berry, and city council leader Rob Humby.

His family took the front rows, and his daughter Hannah Mayo gave a stirring tribute. She described happy days with long walks on the South Downs and playing at the beach with his grandchildren.

She said: “Our children have many happy memories of grandpa.”

As she recollected how he replaced hymn lyrics with ‘pom pom’ if he couldn’t remember the words, the congregation laughed along with her.

The reverse of the programme featured quotes from his grandchildren. One read: “I love Grandpa’s massive wellies and shoes, as mine look so small next to his. His big armchair is the best to curl up in.”

Bishop Scott-Joynt was renowned for his warmth, intellect and his height, as he stood a full 6ft 7in tall.

He had previously served as Bishop of Stafford and as a residentiary canon at St Albans Cathedral, during a career in the Anglican church that spanned more than four decades.

He was the Bishops’ spokesman on constitutional affairs in the House of Lords and chaired a Church of England committee which advocated relaxing the rules governing the remarriage of divorcees in church. A strong supporter of traditional relationships, Bishop Scott-Joynt opposed both the appointment of an openly homosexual canon as a bishop in 2003 and the introduction of civil partnerships.

He admitted this was a stance which was uncomfortable to take, when so many of his family, friends and colleagues either disagreed with it, or were embarrassed by it.

Michael Scott-Joynt was the 96th Bishop of Winchester, one of the five most senior bishoprics within the Church of England.

He is survived by his wife Lou, two sons and a daughter.

They followed behind as his coffin was carried from the cathedral, and row upon row of bowed heads paid their final respects.

As people left, chatting of their fond memories, the cathedral flag stood at half mast.

Following the service his family and close friends attended a private burial, conducted by Rt Revd David Stancliffe, former Bishop of Salisbury.