A sad end for a remarkable woman, says church member
Published 06/11/2010 | 05:00
MEMBERS of the church in which Gladys Whigham was a lay preacher said last night that her son had always tried to do his best for her but was an eccentric.
Nathanael Whigham is believed to have returned to England with his mother's body yesterday as he sought to bury her following her death in September.
Neighbours at their former home in Putney, south-west London, said last night that they had seen neither since late last year.
"It's a very sad end for a remarkable woman," fellow church member Nick Carlyle told the Irish Independent. "I knew she was a leading light in the area for about 40 years.
"It all got very confusing. The last time I saw Gladys was in September 2009 and then they disappeared to Cyprus -- as far as I know they went to Cyprus, then Malta, then Ireland."
Neighbours said Nathanael suddenly appeared on the scene after the death of Gladys's husband Gill and she became frail after a series of falls.
Friends of the 90-year-old said Nathanael was not interested in her money but moved his mother out of the dilapidated family home on Oxford Road to a rented flat nearby so work could be done.
However, little had been done by September 2009 when the pair suddenly left for Cyprus.
Before he left London, Nathanael "alienated" the congregation of the Trinity United Reformed Church in nearby Wimbledon where Gladys had been an active member for several years.
"I know he was all over the place," Mr Carlyle said. "You would go into the flat and on the table there would be mobile phones in disarray.
"His mother was always on his mind. He was always trying to do his best, but I don't know what planet he was on."
He said Nathanael had lived on a narrowboat somewhere in the Midlands before turning up at his mother's home in September or October 2008.
"He then moved to a rented flat," Mr Carlyle added. "When she was here the police said it was a very unfriendly place to be for an old lady. There were polished floors everywhere.
"You never knew what was going through Nathanael's mind. All we knew was that he was operating some kind of bizarre therapy for anti-smoking; some vegan business.
"Every time you spoke to him he would go off and rant about all sorts of vegan and health-based conspiracies."
Mr Carlyle said the house in Oxford Road had an old boat and car in the front garden and was badly in need of repair.
"Nathanael did not do anything. He was too haphazard to get anything done," he said.
In the final weeks before he and his mum left, Nathanael, called together members of her church for a meeting.
Mr Carlyle said: "He basically launched off in a typical Nathanael-style rant against the church members.
"He alienated a lot of people at that point. He literally did not know what his left hand and right hand were doing."