A FUNERAL service will take place tomorrow for Blacon pensioner Kevin Williams – but there will be no family members present to pay their final respects.
For the past three weeks, Cheshire West and Chester Council has been trying in vain to trace the 61-year-old's next of kin.
Now it has been forced to take the rare step of using public funds to arrange a cremation and funeral service that will likely be attended by just a handful of his neighbours and drinking pals.
Mr Williams, of Cotes Place, died on August 6 this year just a week after moving into Tarvin Court Care Home. He had been battling cancer and received care at the Hospice of the Good Shepherd in Backford.
Information gleaned by the council states he was born in Jamaica and attended army schools while growing up.
Neither the nursing home nor hospice have been able to shed any more light on Mr Williams’ life, and the neighbour that knew him the best, Barbara Hoxworth, said his background largely remained a mystery.
She told the Leader: “He was a very good-hearted neighbour and became a friend. He used to come round for a cup of tea. I don’t know much about his background or what he did for work though. It’s a bit of a mystery.
“There will be about four or five of his neighbours at the funeral and hopefully some of the people he used to drink with at the Chi (the Chichester Arms pub on Garden Lane).”
She said Mr Williams had suffered with prostate cancer before Christmas and she and the warden at Cotes Place found him collapsed on the bed last month with crippling back pain.
Dawn Smyth, office manager at Tarvin Court Care Home, said it was a sad fact that sometimes people died having no living family members.
“I’ve been to a funeral before when it was just me and solicitor present,” she said.
“It's very sad.
“Kevin was only here a week so no one here knows much about him. We carried out an assessment on him and he doesn’t have any next of kin.
“Sometimes families have had feuds and don’t want anything to do with the funeral but some people just have nobody. It’s such a shame.”
Mr Williams' funeral will take place at Chester Crematorium at 9.20am tomorrow.
l The government’s Money Advice Service states the price of funeral services is around £1,900 with the cremation itself costing a further £560.