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Home   Romney Marsh   News   Article

Mystery as nine-year-old finds cremated remains in casket at Dymchurch beach near Ocean Inn

11 August 2014
by Sam Lennon

A nine-year-old boy has stumbled on a shocking mystery.

Mason Brooks dug out a casket of cremated remains on the beach at Dymchurch.

Now nobody knows why the man’s ashes were left there or who his family were.

Mason Brooks with family and friends and the ashes casket on Dymchurch seafront.

Mason Brooks with family and friends and the ashes casket on Dymchurch seafront.

Mason said: “At first I thought it was treasure and I told my auntie ‘look, I’ve found treasure. When I was told what it really was I was sad and upset.”

Aunt Kirsty Brooks 25, said: “Straight away I knew what it was and I was shocked. We have no idea why it was there.”

Shepway District Council’s burials department this week appealed for the family of the dead man to come forward and reclaim the ashes.

Mason made the discovery while on a week’s holiday with a total of 11 family and friends from Thamesmead in south east London.

They had been staying at Dymchurch’s New Beach Holiday Park.

It was actually family friend Katrina Beard, 43, who had first found the wooden casket moments earlier and went over to Miss Brooks to alert her.

Mason Brooks on Dymchurch seafront with the ashes casket he found.

Mason Brooks on Dymchurch seafront with the ashes casket he found.

As she had briefly left it Mason came across it, pulled out the bag of ashes and brought it to her aunt.

Mrs Beard said: “It was barely buried, the top of the box was visible through the sand.

"Then I dug around the edges of the box. When I realised what it was I said a prayer.

“It was hundreds of yards into the beach well inside the tidal area. The lid wasn’t even fixed on so the ashes could have been taken away by the tide.

"I don’t know why anybody would have left them there.”

The women, the only adults among their 11-strong party, first reported the find to community warden Sue Covus and police at Folkstone.

The mystery ashes casket of John Bunde. Who was he

The mystery ashes casket of John Bunde. Who was he?

The ashes are now in the safekeeping of Shepway’s burials department.

The casket measures about 8in by 12in. A plaque on the lid names the man as John Olgerts Bunde who passed away last October 31 aged 87.

The burials department has been unable to trace anyone of that name who died that day.

Officials checked with the Hawkinge, Charing and Barham crematoriums, all of whom confirmed that the body’s cremation never took place in their sites.

The registrar’s office for Kent also has no record of Mr Bunde.

A spokesman for Shepway council said: “We are now appealing to anyone who knew Mr Bunde to get in touch in order that his family can appropriately dispose of the ashes.”

Mason Brooks and his family and friends with local community warden Sue Covus.

Mason Brooks and his family and friends with local community warden Sue Covus.

In the long term, if no relatives come forward, the council can bury them in one of the Marsh cemeteries.

Anyone who knew Mr Bunde and can help should email customer.services@shepway.gov.uk.

 

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