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Friends of Anne McManus,62, from Sheppey, battles with council to get her cremated

By John Nurden

Friends of a Sheppey woman set to be buried in a pauper’s grave against her wishes, are fighting to give her the send off she wanted.

Vivienne Hudson is battling with Medway council to get the body of her friend, Anne McManus, sent back to the Island so it can be cremated, not buried, as Medway council is planning.

After her health deteriorated the 62-year-old, who lived in a caravan at Seabreeze holiday park in Marine Parade, ended up in a hospice in Rochester.

Eccentric: Anne McManus from Sheerness (4669136)
Eccentric: Anne McManus from Sheerness (4669136)

There she died before writing a will. Medway council says it is its policy to give people in that situation a pauper’s burial.

Mrs Hudson, of Marine Parade, Sheerness, said: “Annie would have hated that. She always said she wanted her ashes scattered over the sea near her caravan at Barton’s Point.

And she had a pathological fear of worms. She couldn’t even eat spaghetti.

She would turn in her grave if she knew Medway was planning to bury her.”

Mrs Hudson says Miss McManus had enough money to pay for her funeral and added: “Besides, cremation is cheaper than burial.”

Miss McManus had been ill for a long time with bowel and liver cancer but had refused help.

Mrs Hudson said: “Annie was very chatty. She was always cycling along the beach to Sheerness where she would attend Bible classes or Age UK.”

Caravan at Seabreeze park, Sheerness, where Anne McManus lived (4669143)
Caravan at Seabreeze park, Sheerness, where Anne McManus lived (4669143)

Tracy Jackson, who runs Seabreeze caravan park, said: “It’s all very sad. We can’t do anything although Vivienne is determined to fight.”

Miss McManus’s friend Richard Pilcher, 71, who lives in Kingsmill Close, Milton Regis said: She was quite an individual.

"She loved swimming, was an avid reader of books.”

Medway council has scheduled the burial for 9.30am on Wednesday, October 24 at Woodlands Cemetery, Gillingham.

Richard Pilcher, friend of Anne McManus (4669145)
Richard Pilcher, friend of Anne McManus (4669145)

James Brown, Medway council’s head of regulatory services, said: “We understand it is an extremely difficult time when a loved one passes away.

"When no one comes forward to make the funeral arrangements, unless the deceased has left a will which details their preferences, we will organise a burial for them.”

He said the council picks a burial in case a family member later comes forward so the body can be moved.

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