An artist held a Halloween funeral for a cardboard cut-out of Richard Branson in a Sidcup pub after she realised their marriage was “dead”.

Deborah Hodge, 46, wed her 2D husband in 2015 in an effort to catch Branson’s attention after his company Virgin turned down her request for a loan needed to cover medical costs for her seriously ill daughter.

In the years since the pair “drifted apart”, and after she found him in the back of a cupboard, Deborah felt it was time to officially mark the end of their union.

Deborah, who works in the Iron Horse, where the funeral was held, said: “Once I found him in the cupboard, I knew our relationship was dead.

“I thought it would be appropriate for us to mourn him in a funeral.

“The mourners wept and wept and the priest, also named Richard, performed the last rites.

“I wouldn’t be sad if he was dead in real life to be honest – he’s trying to privatise the NHS – but I had a proper relationship with that cut-out.”

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Branson lay in a coffin

The funeral goers also enjoyed a wake in the boozer, which is hosting a Halloween party this Friday.

Deborah married the cut-out in a ceremony at Slade Green Library four years ago.

Branson is in fact married to Joan Templeman.

The mum of four also held an art exhibition at the venue, centred around her tribute to the Virgin boss.

She says it was a way of “making light of a tough situation and coping with it”, after her daughter’s illness put the family’s finances under strain.

Her application for a £3000 loan was refused and she was told by a staff member to “put her trust in Jesus instead.”

The marriage was Deborah’s second to an inanimate object, as she also wed her house ‘Norman’ after her family was threatened with eviction for not having a guarantor in 2015.

The former deputy headteacher set up a crowdfunding page to raise £400,000 to buy her former Bexleyheath home.

Deborah has since appeared on several national TV shows, including This Morning and Victoria Derbyshire, promoting various causes under her alter ego Cecily Baker.

She has also written of her experiences as a mother, artist and survivor of domestic abuse in an autobiography - Putting Back Together The Pieces You Broke: Story behind a Revolution.