Harold Jellicoe Percival, a veteran of World War II, died with nobody to attend his funeral. But what happened next was incredibly moving...
When Harold Jellicoe Percival, a veteran of Bomber Command in WWII, died last month aged 99, the death notice in his local paper said that there was nobody to attend his funeral.
But, when the story was picked up on Twitter, something truly amazing happened.
So sad .... I do hope someone can attend pic.twitter.com/58Eif7QTwv— living-the-dream (@middleaged_mom) November 8, 2013
After the death notice began to gain attention, Sgt Rick Clement - a fellow war veteran - put out an emotional appeal for serviceman to turn out and remember a fellow hero of the Second World War.
And, amazingly, people did. Hundreds of people.
Hundreds turn up for funeral of war veteran Harold Percival who died without close friends and family. pic.twitter.com/HOFimYrojG— Mike McCarthy (@skynewsnorth) November 11, 2013
People stood outside in the rain, unable to get inside the crowded church, in order to pay their respects to the fallen soldier.
Harold Percival's funeral in Lytham. Mourners young and old. pic.twitter.com/fERb5u43KW— Nick Garnett (@nicholasgarnett) November 11, 2013
More service personnel arriving at Harold Percival's funeral in Lytham. pic.twitter.com/fHwHCSZgYW— Nick Garnett (@nicholasgarnett) November 11, 2013
Harold Percival is set to get a huge send off. People here tell me they're honoured. pic.twitter.com/rRYWoZGQzZ— Danny Savage (@dannysavage) November 11, 2013
Harold Percival's coffin carried into Lytham crematorium. pic.twitter.com/nL8VEqYcTo— Nick Garnett (@nicholasgarnett) November 11, 2013
The Dambusters theme plays as Harold Jellicoe Percival's coffin is carried into the chapel. Crowd of 300+. pic.twitter.com/ofXZH2Xfiv— Helen Pidd (@helenpidd) November 11, 2013
Some have even left crosses and flowers for a man they never knew. Harold Percival's funeral in Lytham. pic.twitter.com/seyLa0hYje— Danny Savage (@dannysavage) November 11, 2013
We were incredibly moved to see so many people turn up and say goodbye to Harold, who sounds like he was an amazing man. But there are still many elderly people in the UK who are without close friends and family. Thankfully, there is a solution.
To tackle the problem of loneliness among older people, Age UK has developed an extra-special befriending service. This works by joing up an older person with a befriender, who provides friendly conversation and companionship on a regular basis over a long period of time.
This relationship not only promotes wellbeing and confidence, but can also help people in later life to remain independent in their own homes - and, as it's something you can do via letter, telephone or face-to-face visits, it's easier than ever for you to sign up.
Find out more about Age UK's befriending service here.