Funeral arranged for 'much-loved' Thaxted man after successful fundraising appeal
PUBLISHED: 09:12 25 February 2019 | UPDATED: 09:20 25 February 2019
Residents in Thaxted have raised more than £2,000 to pay for the funeral of a local man who died suddenly without the finances to pay for a service.
Brian Mays had lived in the village for more than 30 years and died on January 18 in Broomfield Hospital, aged 61. He had been battling cancer and developed pneumonia after having a fall the day before he died.
Thaxted resident Catherine Fox set up the fundraising page to fund a memorial for Mr Mays to ensure his death didn’t go ‘unmarked’.
Residents raised £1,000 in just 24 hours so she decided to continue fundraising to pay for a funeral.
“I wanted to do this just so he didn’t go unrecognised,” she said. “He was a very decent man and I couldn’t bear the idea the idea of him having a pauper’s burial.
“He ended up with nothing at the end of his life – it could be anybody and you could be in the same position.
“It’s wonderful to see how people collectively can be great and Thaxted is one of those places where people help out. The first person who donated £100 hadn’t even met him. It just takes somebody to set something up and then everyone steps up.”
Wendy Rider, the daughter of Brian’s companion, was with Brian when he died and said everyone who knew him “loved him to bits”.
“He loved Thaxted,” she said. “Once he moved there, he never wanted to leave. He lived there for at least 30 years. He always wanted to help – always happy to help people. His mum, Ellen Baker, was even mayor of Saffron Walden at one time.
“Everybody of his age knew him – everyone loved him to bits. They don’t make them like that anymore.
“I’m gobsmacked by the support for the fundraiser – there are people that don’t even know him that have sent him contributions. It’s had me in tears a couple of times.
“I want to say a massive ‘thank you’ as well to Broomfield Hospital for their care of Brian as they were wonderful.”
The arrangements have now been made for Mr Mays’ cremation.
The ceremony is confirmed for 11am on February 28 at Cam Valley Crematorium in Great Chesterford and there will be a reception at The Swan in Thaxted afterwards. All welcome.