Memorial services are meant to be a sombre affair – but last night’s tribute to late vicar Ashley Thomas, who died in April, couldn’t help but raise a few laughs among Emmerdale fans.
The village had held a competition to design a stained glass window in Ashley’s honour – and his son Arthur (Alfie Clarke) was meant to win.
But when vicar Harriet Finch (Katherine Dow Blyton) and Ashley’s widow Laurel Thomas (Charlotte Bellamy) pulled back the curtain in the church to reveal the window, it was apparent that there had been an hilarious mistake.
The stained glass window makers had accidentally been sent a rather suggestive design by Kerry Wyatt (Laura Norton).
Ashley (John Middleton) was depicted with a six pack, wearing a toga and with a sheep in a strategically placed position.
The design also featured a unicorn, a rainbow and the words “never forget”.
“Ashley will be buff for all of eternity,” wrote one fan. “Buff vicar of Emmerdale, never forgotten. #Emmerdale #BuffVicarofEmmerdale #ToAshley #NeverForgotten.”
“Ha ha #Bernice in @emmerdale on Ashley’s new stained glass window: ‘He never looked liked that when I knew him!” wrote another fan.
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Other fans were less happy: “That ridiculous window is a mockery to Ashley and to an excently [sic] storyline,” wrote one. “Shame. #Emmerdale.”
In the programme, young Arthur gave a surprisingly sweet response. “Let’s keep it,” he said. “I’m glad you got it wrong.
“I always thought every time I saw the window I’d be unhappy, but Dad would have loved it.
“And I like to think of him laughing.”
Ashley’s widow is set to rekindle an old flame in upcoming scenes – as she and her ex Marlon Dingle will be seen sharing a kiss.