Thursday, September 15, 2011

Funeral For A Forgotten Man

Forgotten in life, Michael Clarke - a fiercely private man who'll be remembered only for his lonely death in a decrepit Wellington council flat.
The 86yr.old's body was found at his council flat in Newtown last month, dead for more than a year. Tuesday afternoon saw a small subdued service, paid for by the late pensioner himself, with just a small huddle of mourners and officials from the Public Trust, Wellington City Council and the mayor Celia Wade-Brown. Only one mourner had known Clarke in life.
A quiet and private Irishman from County Mayo, Michael Clarke had worked for a dairy company before his retirement in the early 1980s. Celebrant Alister Hendery said though Mr Clarke had lived a life shrouded in anonymity, his death had impacted on many: "We pay tribute to a fellow mortal who lived in our midst yet we hardly knew him; who was one of us, yet chose to live apart. It is not possible to recount even the barest detail of his life, except that he was born on the 26th December 1923 and that he died in his home around July 2010."
"As far as we know there are none who were close to him. And yet, while there is no community, no individuals who we can name as the bereaved, we are all bereaved. In life, he was, whether he knew it or not, precious and irreplaceable. As we acknowledge Michael let us remember all those who are alone, who are lonely, who have no-one close to care for them."
[...thanx to Dominion Post]
Food for thought.
The Wellington City Council has been criticised for not checking on the elderly living alone in council housing.
Mayor Wade-Brown: “We have to be more than just a landlord. We have to build that sense of community.” The block of flats where Mr Clarke lived for 30 years is scheduled to be demolished within five months, and the council is working on a plan so all council tenants are visited twice a year.
PS: 23 Feb.2012 - It's now been revealed that a second Wellington pensioner died in similar lonely circumstances in 2009, and wasn't discovered for 8mths!

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