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Staff at Thorp House care home, near Watton, organise funeral and memorial for former resident

Thorp House care home support workers Gemma Boldy (left), Bernadette Curston, Jade Smith and Sarah Rands with the memorial plaque for former resident Kathleen Copping. Picture: Kingsley Healthcare

Thorp House care home support workers Gemma Boldy (left), Bernadette Curston, Jade Smith and Sarah Rands with the memorial plaque for former resident Kathleen Copping. Picture: Kingsley Healthcare

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Kathleen Copping always loved the bright side of life even though her brave battle with failing health meant she lived her last five years in a care home.

When she died at the age of 59 in February with no next of kin to organise her funeral, staff at Thorp House nursing home, in Griston, near Watton, were determined she should be honoured and remembered in the right way.

Home manager Kirsty Holden and her colleagues planned a funeral service at West Suffolk Crematorium, Bury St Edmunds, befitting her bright character.

Mrs Holden said: “She was a very poorly lady who had a tracheostomy but she loved animals and flowers and the great outdoors – and she adored watching the Jeremy Kyle programme on television.

“Her father died two years before her and there was no family around when she died.

“For her funeral, we covered her coffin in flowers which we brought back to the home and our music choice had to include the theme tune for Jeremy Kyle.”

Support worker Gemma Boldy, who cared for Miss Copping for more than five years, said she will always remember her sense of humour.

She said: “Kath’s father used to visit her a lot but after he died two years ago, she received few visitors.

“After her death, in the absence of any family, staff members were determined to give her a fitting send-off.

“I will always remember her as a cheeky little lady with a great sense of humour. She was not able to talk but used her eyes to communicate – and she could laugh which she did a lot.

“She loved football and had a Cristiano Ronaldo poster in her room.”

Five months after the funeral, the story of her life was fittingly concluded in bright sunshine when her ashes were buried in the garden she had loved at Thorp House.

Staff at Mark Skinner Funeral Service in Brandon held a special service and donated a plaque to lay in her memory.

The five members of Thorp House staff who had organised the funeral gathered to say their final goodbyes.

Mrs Holden added: “Everyone was pleased to be given the chance to pay their respects to someone we knew affectionately as Our Kath. Now we have brought her back home.”

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