Separate burials for Cork twins who died in London

Reclusive Irish twin brothers who died within weeks of each other in London are to be buried separately.

The funeral arrangements for the late Bill and John Kelly, 77, originally from north Cork and who were facing burial in a pauper’s grave unless family came forward, were confirmed yesterday.

John, who died in London in January, was cremated in London on Tuesday. His ashes are to be interred with his mother’s remains in London.

However, the remains of his twin brother, William, known as Bill, who died on January 29 in Muswell Hill, north London, were flown home to Cork Airport last night.

His funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11.30am in Bweeng tomorrow, before his remains are taken for burial alongside his father in St Finbarr’s Cemetery in the city.

Padraig Grennan, of genealogy specialists Finders International, who helped trace the twins’ family in Cork, said anyone who would like to pay their respects are welcome to attend.

The tragic story of the twins emerged in late January through the Irish Post newspaper.

When Bill died, his friend, Margaret Deeney, went in search of his relatives to inform them of his death to discover that his estranged twin, John, who lived in Archway, had also passed away.

The Irish Post launched an appeal to find their next of kin and a fund to assist with funeral costs.

Seán Kelly from Bweeng, a first cousin of the twins, came forward to claim them and Mr Grennan said their researchers used a marriage cert for the twins’ parents, Denis Kelly of Dromohane and Katherine Murphy from Banteer, dated January 22, 1929, to confirm the family connection.

Seán Kelly
Seán Kelly

Following the death of her husband, Katherine and her children emigrated to London.

Mr Grennan said after extensive research, the family established that Bill had expressed a desire to return home to Cork at some stage.

“Unfortunately, this didn’t happen during his life,” he said. “The family couldn’t establish whether John had expressed similar wishes. They thought long and hard about what should happen next.

“But because Bill had expressed a wish to return home, the family has now decided to bring him home to be buried with his father.”

John’s estate will cover the costs of his funeral arrangements in London.

The Irish Post fund will be used to cover the cost of the repatriation of Bill’s remains, and his funeral.


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