HUNDREDS of friends, family members, customers and former students have processed through a village near York to the burial of leading animal sculptor Sally Arnup.

Accompanied by her nephew Colin Danskin playing the trumpet, the procession wound its way this afternoon from Sally's studios in Holtby to the village churchyard.

Sally, a mother-of-four, died at York Hospital late last year, aged 85, after having previously suffered a stroke in a stable while she was modelling a large sculpture of a horse.

Her sculptures were sold around the world, with commissions from well-known customers including Prince Philip.

Her burial followed a Quaker funeral held at Bootham School, which was attended by more than 300 people, with between 20 and 30 speaking about Sally and her life.

Her son Tobias said in a eulogy that she knew at the age of five that she wanted to be a sculptor and her parents were apparently supportive of this, letting her take over a shed in their garden as a studio and allowing her to attend art school from the age of 13.

“As everyone here must know, Sally had a life-long fascination with animals and with making sculptures of them,” he said.

He said she married Mick in 1953, and he found work at York School of Art, where she set up a successful sculpture department.

From 1959 onwards, they lived in Holtby with an eclectic mix of animals, visitors and employees and, over the years, the house had been adapted to fit the needs of the family.

“The bungalow became The Studios and grew to include painting and sculpture studios, the pottery, a gallery, mould store, kiln room and a wax room."

He said that in 1974, they both gave up teaching in order to concentrate on their artistic careers but Sally had already been exhibiting regularly in York since 1968.

“Sally was always encouraging of her fellow artists, whether they were professional and well-established, gifted amateurs or just starting out.

"Her enthusiasm for her craft and for life itself was well-known and remarkable. This had a huge impact on her family and friends as well as her students, many of whom have stayed in touch to this day.”