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Sunday 23 October 2016

'Their story struck a chord' - Irish undertaker offers to bring elderly twins home for burial

David Kearns

Published 20/02/2016 | 12:06

Mr Bill Kelly was a regular church-goer at Our Lady of Muswell Roman Catholic Church, London
Mr Bill Kelly was a regular church-goer at Our Lady of Muswell Roman Catholic Church, London

An Irish undertaker has offered to bury free of charge two elderly twins from Cork who face a pauper’s gave in London after they passed away within days of each other.

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The bodies of reclusive twin brothers Bill and John Kelly (77) lay unclaimed in separate morgues in the UK after the pair died weeks apart in January.

An appeal by the Irish community to trace their family lead to a first cousin living in Cork City, who has since come forward to say it is his wish to give the brothers a proper burial in Ireland – hopefully in the family plot in Glasheen.

Speaking on air to C103FM this week, Seán Kelly said he plans to repatriate the bodies of Bill and John to Cork and lay their bodies to rest alongside their father Dennis Kelly in St. Finbarr’s cemetery.

Touched by the gesture, local funeral director John Keohane reached out to the Kelly family and offered to cover the costs of burying the twins in Ireland.

“Their story struck a chord… there isn’t a family in this country who doesn’t know someone who left to find work.

“How many of those who went to work in the UK during the 50s and 60s never came home.”

Mr Keohane told that that his company, Keohane’s Cork Funeral Directors, was ready to help with transport and logistics of bring the twins back to Cork but added that there had been no word yet from the Kelly family.

“We’re in limbo at the moment as we haven’t heard from [them] yet but that is completely understandable because there is still a lot to do before we talk about bringing the brothers home.

“We’re not even sure there is room in the family plot [here in Cork],” he said.

Asked about the costs involve in repatriating the brothers, Mr Keohane said it was not about the money.

“There is no value on something like this. I wouldn’t put a cost on it… it’s not about money, it’s about helping a family.” understands that Bill Turners’ remains are being held at Whittington Hospital’s mortuary, while his brother John’s remains are still in Hornsey Coroner’s Office.

Elsewhere €8,074 has been donated to a fund set up by The Irish Post to help with the brothers’  funeral costs.

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