BILL Heine was ever the most modest of men, though he had plenty to be immodest about had he so wished. But the idea of being involved in anything any way grand, while it always seemed a little odd to him, rather tickled him too.

It was so when I last saw him, two months before his death in a chance meeting at Marylebone Station. I had been to Covent Garden, he to a livery company dinner in the City for which, most uncharacteristically, he was dolled up in a dinner jacket. This was his first such ‘gig’ and he described it with bubbling enthusiasm.

That his life should have been celebrated, as it was two weeks ago, amid the grandeur of the University Church, would have gratified his taste for the improbable.

In fact, as the Rev Charlotte Bannister-Parker explained, he had asked for it – or at least had asked her to conduct the service.

It was a surprise to me to discover, from the order of service, that Bill’s full name was William Randolph Heine, only the last three letters different from that of William Randolph Hearst. Had Bill’s folks marked him out for a media career?

Newspaper magnate Hearst was the inspiration for Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane, for many the greatest of movies – a link with Bill the cinema owner.

As far as I know, Hearst did not install a shark on any of his homes.

What’s in a name? The thought struck me again in the presence of folk singer (and former Generation Game host) Isla St Clair, at the service to perform Macrimmon’s Lament, the plaintive air to which Bill passed away on April 2.

Isla’s name is involved in a certain style of joke: if she married first Barry White and next Bryan Ferry, she’d be Isla White Ferry.

A strange link for me, by the way, with William Randolph Hearst, which I found out while ‘researching’ this piece. He died on the day I was born: August 14, 1951.