Reclusive twin brothers may be buried with father in Cork

Reclusive elderly twin brothers from Cork, who were facing burial in a pauper’s grave after dying alone in London, could be brought home for a dignified funeral after a cousin came forward.

Reclusive twin brothers may be buried with father in Cork

Seán Kelly said the late Bill and John Kelly, 77, who were estranged and who died within months of each other, could be buried with their father in their native Cork.

“I was sorry to hear that they had died. My wish now is that they would be buried in a proper grave,” Seán said.

With their bodies lying unclaimed in separate morgues, the Irish community in North London launched an appeal to trace their relatives.

Seán, from Bweeng, near Mallow in north Cork, heard their story on C103FM yesterday and came forward.

“The penny just dropped,” he told the Irish Examiner. “I would like to establish first if they had any wishes themselves to be buried in England or elsewhere.

“Their father is buried in St Finbarr’s Cemetery in Cork, so we’ll wait and see, but you have to look after your own.”

William, known as Bill, who was originally from the Turner’s Cross area of Cork City, died on January 29 in Muswell Hill, north London.

It was only when his friend, Margaret Deeney, went in search of his relatives to inform them of his death that it was discovered that his estranged twin, John, who lived in Archway, had also passed away.

The community launched an appeal through The Irish Post newspaper to find their next of kin.

Pádraig Grennan of genealogy specialists Finders said their researchers used a marriage cert for the twins’ parents, Denis Kelly from Dromohane and Katherine Murphy from Banteer, dated January 22, 1929, to confirm beyond doubt that Seán is a first cousin of the twins.

Seán said he still has a 1992-dated letter from Bill, addressed to his late mother, in which he says he, Jack (his brother, John), and their sister Mary, were fine.

The twins were born on August 27, 1938, and it is believed that, after the death of their father, the twins and their family moved to London, possibly in 1947.

Little is known about their early years in London. Bill and John were described as quite reclusive, and Bill’s social worker, Elizabeth Blanch, said he suffered from mental health issues for a number of years.

He worked in Marks and Spencer as a porter, but left work because of his health problems.

He moved into sheltered accommodation at Cranley Dene Court in Muswell Hill in 2006, kept few personal items in it, and enjoyed a pint and the occasional bet on the horses. Ms Deeney described him as a very honest man and a devout Catholic who rarely missed Mass in Our Lady of Muswell Catholic Church, but said he rarely spoke about his personal life or family.

It is believed the twins were estranged for a number of years before their deaths and that their sister, Mary, died about two years ago.

Bill’s remains are being held at Whittington Hospital’s mortuary, while John’s remains are lying unclaimed in Hornsey Coroner’s Office.

Mr Grennan said he is now liaising with Seán and the authorities in Britain about their funeral arrangements. Almost £1,300 has been donated to a fund set up by The Irish Post to help with funeral costs.

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