Cremation costs blow leaves pensioner’s body in a Spanish morgue

Ricky and Rita Dunderdale in Guardamar in Spain

Ricky and Rita Dunderdale in Guardamar in Spain

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A PENSIONER’S body is being held in a Spanish morgue as his family try to raise cash after the Government said it would not help pay for his cremation.

Ricky Dunderdale died during a holiday to see his daughter daughter.

The 79-year-old Chichester resident’s family were left distraught when he passed away on the trip and a second blow has landed in the form of a €4,122.61 bill for his body to be cremated in Spain – which is £3,048.09.

“All I want is to put him to rest. He deserves that much if nothing else,” said his 69-year-old widow Rita, who lives at the couple’s home in Swanfield Drive.

She described Ricky, who had Alzheimer’s Disease, as a good man, ‘funny, stubborn’ and someone who ‘would not get insured’. He passed away on January 16 and nearly a month on she is coming to terms with the loss.

“I’m getting there,” she said. “It’s hard to know that you’re going into bed alone. I always kiss the pillow and say goodnight.”

She has asked for help from the Department of Work and Pensions, however because the cremation would take place outside the UK, the government told her that she is not entitled to a funeral payment from the department’s social fund.

Ricky’s family said his two passions in life were drumming and Spanish – he played the drums in different clubs around Liverpool and also worked for Walls Ice Cream when he was younger.

After moving south to Selsey, then Chichester, he used to play the drums at Selsey pubs, including the Fisherman’s Joy and The Seal. However, his drum playing was affected after he suffered a stroke in 2008.

Rita has a beautifully-handwritten notebook by Ricky which he used to help teach Spanish to the family, after teaching himself.

The pair have two children, Francine who lives in Spain with her husband and Marc who lives and works in Chichester. Rita said she did not think Ricky realised what he would put the family through by not being

insured.

“He was always adamant that he came in with nothing and he would go out with nothing,” she said.

“He was an adamant man and he was proud.”

She said she was on £148 per week now and could not afford the bill.

The DWP’s social fund can be used towards cremating someone who has died abroad but only if the funeral is to take place in the UK.

Ricky’s family say he wished to be cremated in Spain and Rita said she planned to scatter his ashes there. However, for now her husband remains in a Spanish morgue. A Facebook group has been made called Let Rick rest in Spain at www.facebook.com/letrickrestinspain

There is a fundraising page at http://gogetfunding.com/project/let-rick-rest-in-spain

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