• Tue
  • Sep 2, 2014
  • Updated: 6:04pm
Wealth Blog
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 February, 2014, 9:10am
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 February, 2014, 8:10pm

Sandra D'Auriol - expect a memorable memorial

Thursday's memorial service for society jewellery designer and philanthropist Sandra D'Auriol is set to be one of the most memorable and spectacular ever held in Central's St John's Cathedral. No one knows how many of her vast circle of friends will turn up, but scores are known to be flying in from Thailand, the Philippines and Singapore for the 6pm service and gathering afterwards at The China Club. Rumours abound about the decorations, with the cathedral anticipating a dramatic display, with a riot of colours and imported palm trees. "It's going to be beautiful in a very interesting way," was all one friend would divulge. There will be lots of music, cathedral staff confirmed, adding, "but it will be a memorial service, not a concert."  

Sandra, aged 53, grew up in India. She was mother of two young girls, her son Teo having drowned in a Bali holiday swimming accident in 2004. She died on January 22 in what, seen through the prism of seven thousand miles away, seemed to be a needless and avoidable death. The facts behind the lurid headlines are that she went to Los Angeles for a quick nip-and-tuck with a leading plastic surgeon, but something went drastically wrong when she came round from the marathon 13-hour anaesthetic. She somehow got onto the roof of the clinic, from where she jumped. This was despite every attempt of police and her French husband Yan to stop her. She is understood to have been cremated already in America. Doubtless the details will all come out in the inquest: phrases like "neural-behavioural disturbance" are being bandied about, but one can only assume she was literally hearing and seeing nothing following the effects of the anaesthetic.

An amazing lady

Tomorrow's service is expected to fill St John's and overflow into the hall alongside. The cathedral holds 1800 when packed for Christmas midnight mass, with room for 100 more in the hall to the side. Friends predict the church will be standing room only, with everyone huddled inside because it will be too cold to stand outside. The weather forecast is 9-14 degrees centigrade and rain. 

Exemplary connections

In addition to being a devoted wife and mother with a close circle of family friends, expect the great and good of the expatriate community, together with a strong turnout of local A-listers, together with her children's school friends. Her brother Guy's wife is Claudia of the famous Shaw clan. Sandra had many networks. People from the worlds of jewellery design and the 30 charities she supported will all come, including a school in Nepal and most recently, her massive fundraising efforts for the Philippines typhoon, where she organised a huge rice run and co-ordinated the distribution herself.

A life less ordinary

It's somehow odd to be finding out so much about someone after their untimely death. It seems to make it even more sad.

I did not know Sandra D'Auriol, but that's my loss.

Anna.fenton@scmp.com

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