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Home   Medway   News   Article

Widower Stephen Woodruffe sent letter by Medway Council offering condolences on his death... after his wife Sharon Woodruffe died weeks earlier

14 December 2013
by Jenni Horn

Widower Stephen Woodruffe received the letter addressed to his wife Sharon six weeks after she passed away.

He was shocked to read what it contained: the council’s housing department were offering Mrs Woodruffe their condolences on the death of her husband.

Stephen Woodruffe, centre, with daughters Tracey Seex, left, and Hannah Woodruffe

Stephen Woodruffe, centre, with daughters Tracey Seex, left, and Hannah Woodruffe

The letter added that the council tenancy agreement for their home in Kennington Close, Twydall, could only been transferred once but had been transferred to Mrs Woodruffe.

The couple’s daughter, Tracey Seex, said: “Dad was quite upset about it. Mum’s death was a great loss to all of us, she was only 57, and it has been very difficult.

"The council’s letter was insensitive.

“After my mum died, my dad notified all the relevant people, including the council. They shouldn’t have made such a mistake.”

Mr Woodruffe, 57, called the council and expected to receive a letter of apology. No letter had arrived when we spoke to him.

Medway Council

Medway Council

Mrs Seex added: “The letter was upsetting, but what worried him more was it saying that the tenancy had been passed to my deceased mother instead of my dad – especially because it said the tenancy could only be transferred once.”

“It is just another thing that my dad shouldn’t have to worry about. He called them on Friday. A letter should have been drafted and sent straight away.”

Mrs Woodruffe had lived in Kennington Close for more than 30 years before she passed away from sarcoma on October 24.

The council has apologised by phone and sent a housing officer to sort out the tenancy issue.

A council spokesman said: “We deeply regret any distress that this has caused Mr Woodruffe and have apologised sincerely to him for the mistake.

"The tenancy will be transferred into his sole name following a visit by a member of Medway Council staff.”

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