Community responds to Carol’s dying wish

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Stuart Williams (52), of Asfordby, was devastated when wife Carol died from cancer just two days after they married.

Her dying wish was for her body to be carried to her funeral in a horse-drawn carriage but Stuart could not afford the £4,400 cost so he started advertising his furniture for sale on an online auction website for Melton residents.

When others on the site found out why he was doing it they pledged to sell their own stuff to help him pay for the funeral and after regulars from his former town local, The Grapes, began fundraising too he soon had enough money to grant Carol her final wish.

After dozens attended the funeral, on Friday at St Mary’s Church, Melton, Stuart said: “It has been totally overwhelming the way Melton people have responded.

“I had put up my three-piece suite, my telly, my stereo - I would have sold everything.

“We were together 32 years and I had to give Carol the funeral she wanted.”

Carol was diagnosed with the disease two years ago.

She had some food stuck in her throat while eating Christmas dinner and when she was taken to hospital for a check-up doctors detected a tumour.

The couple married at Melton Borough Council’s offices on January 31.

But only two days later 55-year-old Carol passed away, leaving two daughters and two grandchildren.

Stuart had to find £1,937 as a deposit on the funeral.

Desperate to raise the cash he started putting his household goods on the Facebook page ‘Items up for sale in Melton Mowbray and Asfordby’.

That was when others waded in, with some setting up another Facebook page campaign to help.

Regulars at The Grapes also generated more than £1,000 in a couple of days from raffles, donations and sales.

Stuart was able to hand over £3,169 to the Co-op Funeral Service to pay for the service. He is hoping the remainder will be paid through a benefits grant.

Sharon Butcher, landlady at The Grapes, said: “People really wanted to help Stuart and many of them didn’t even know him.

“He was overwhelmed that we managed to raise so much for Carol.”