Family joy as grave row is settled - The Leamington Observer

Family joy as grave row is settled

Leamington Editorial 30th Mar, 2017   0

THE FAMILY of a late Leamington councillor have spoke of their ‘distressing’ battle to have a headstone placed on his grave.

Former town councillor and president of the Leamington Conservative Club Reginald Goodwin Sharp passed away in 1998 aged 87 and was buried at Harbury Cemertery.

Reg – as he was known to family and friends – spent most of his life living on Lillington Road and visiting his ‘beloved’ Jephson Gardens.

He left Natwest bank as the sole executor of his estate, which included instructions to arrange a headstone.

But when his nephews and nieces – who had since moved to Ireland and the south of England – decided to visit their uncle’s grave a few years after his death, they were shocked to discover there was no headstone.

Nephew Roger told the Observer: “We only discovered Reg did not have a headstone when we all visited the cemetery at Harbury during a family reunion in 2014. His grave lay forlornly without a headstone to mark it.

“We immediately contacted a local memorial stonemason, then contacted Natwest to ask if they would undertake to pay the cost of the erection of a headstone, as had been directed by Reg in his will.

“The bank demurred stating they no longer held records of this matter.”

Correspondence between the bank and Roger eventually dried up before the distressed family contacted The Observer.

After being contacted by us, Natwest apologised to the family and offered to meet the cost of the headstone.

A spokeswoman for the bank said: “We apologise to Mr Sharp’s family for our failure to respond on their concerns in 2014.

“Unfortunately, due to time passed we don’t retain any files to explain what arrangements were agreed for payment of the headstone. As a gesture of goodwill to the family we have offered to cover this cost.”

The family were delighted and say it was what Reg wanted.

Their uncle had an illustrious career working in mapping in the Second World War – which saw him three times mentioned in dispatches – and then publishing maps of his hometown when the war ended. He produced a new version every two years.

Roger said a fitting headstone was what his uncle deserved.

He added: “We are pleased Natwest have at long last agreed to facilitate the erection of a suitable headstone at his grave, as he had requested in his will that they should do.

“We are most grateful to the Observer who have been so helpful and sympathetic and who have been entirely responsible for resolving our dispute with the bank.

“Some earlier understanding from the bank of their responsibility and agreement would have saved much emotional distress, but now senior management have realised the need to make this right. I would like to think that our uncle will be happy that his grave is properly marked to commemorate him.”

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