At 95 years old, Stewart Cooney had outlived his wife and son. The only people that he knew that were alive anymore were his carer and social worker, but outside of that, everyone else had died. He passed away at a nursing home, but the only people to notice and care were those on staff. But a trainer for the nursing home, Dougie Eastwood, didn’t think it was right. Someone who had served his country shouldn’t pass on unnoticed, even if they were strangers.
We’re in the world for such a short time. No one deserves to go to the grave without being recognized.”
Dougie began to ask around about Cooney, and discovered that he had been in the Royal Artillery and served in Egypt and Sicily in World War II. Everyone who knew him used words like “lovely” and “cheeky,” and it was clear that Cooney had never lost his clever wit. He would talk about his wife often, and it was sad for him to lose her in 2008. When their adopted son died in 2014, he was beside himself with grief.
It was even more heartbreaking near the end, when he started to show signs of dementia. He would come to dinner thinking that he had been out doing things with his family, a little confused as to where they had gone off to.
Dougie reached out, and the request went viral. Over 200 people turned up to the wake, and many had to watch the ceremony outdoors because there was no more room inside of the crematorium.
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