Lynda Bellingham epitaph: 'The curtain went up on 31 May, 1948, and the final curtain went down on 19 October, 2014'

The actress’ husband pays tribute to his late wife, who died on Sunday

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Lynda Bellingham’s husband, Michael Pattemore, has said that he wants his late wife to be remembered as an actress above all and has revealed her fitting epitaph.

Bellingham died in Pattemore’s arms on Sunday, aged 66, following a battle with colon cancer. She had planned to end her chemotherapy in November so that she could have one final Christmas with her family.

She was best known for her long-running role as the mother in the Oxo adverts.

“I just want her to be remembered as an actress more than anything - not as a celebrity or one of the Loose Women,” he said.

“She started her career as an actress and never thought of herself as a celebrity. She's always been an actress.”

In a moving tribute published in Yours magazine, for which Bellingham wrote a column, Pattemore said that his wife had died in hospital rather than at home as she had wanted.

“She was in too much pain and they didn't have it under control enough for me to be able to look after her,” he said.

“I can tell you now that the words on her gravestone will be 'The curtain went up on May 31 1948, and the final curtain went down on October 19 2014'.”

Simon Pegg, Ed Miliband and fellow Loose Women panellists were among high-profile names to pay tribute yesterday. Pegg described Bellingham as his first “tv mother figure and a treasured friend”.

The actress’ funeral is expected to be staged in Somerset, according to wishes detailed in her recent autobiography, with a separate event held in London.