A former KOSB lance corporal has taken over funeral arrangements for a fellow veteran to avoid him being given a pauper’s funeral.
Bob Bolton discovered that KOSB veteran Ronnie Shepherd (66), known as Shep, had died suddenly at home in Coldstream and when neither the police nor the procurator fiscal’s office could trace Ronnie’s family, Bob stepped in to ensure Ronnie gets the funeral a former soldier deserves.
“While neighbours did keep an eye out for him it was a couple of days before he was found,” said Bob. “He was registered deceased on March 8,in the Edinburgh City Mortuary.
“Ronnie lived alone having moved to Coldstream from the Gateshead area around 15 years ago. Unfortunately estranged from family he lived a solitary life. Friendly but private he suffered health problems and the effects of his service career.
“SBC environmental health are responsible for cremating people who have no family and as he had been dead for two weeks plus they decided it was time to go ahead and cremate Ronnie.
“They had arranged a pauper’s funeral as there was a miscommunication somewhere along the line but once I was told about this I stopped it. I was informed as I had told the police and the procurator that I would take responsibility if no family can be found.
“I simply declared I would take the responsibility as a friend and former comrade of a veteran.
“I collected a form 14 certificate and gave it to the undertaker who then helped me with the details of arranging the cremation.”
There will be a collection after the funeral at Borders Crematorium, Melrose, on Tuesday, April 9, at 2pm, for SSAFA who are helping with the funeral costs and Bob hopes that other former KOSB veterans will attend.