An inseparable Hemel Hempstead couple who died hours apart just a week before their 40th wedding anniversary were laid to rest in the same casket yesterday.
Neither Kevin nor Christine Shearson, both 64, of Fletcher Way, could face life without their beloved spouse, and as former driving instructor Kevin began slipping away from complications associated with his multiple sclerosis, devastated Christine became struck down with a serious chest infection.
Daughter Kelly Shearson-Lewis told the Gazette it was important they shared the same casket as they were always at each other’s side in life. The loving pair’s funeral at the West Herts Crematorium yesterday was the first of its kind.
Tim Morris from the Institution of Cemetery and Crematorium Management has never before heard of a married couple being laid to rest in the same casket. He said: “Personally I haven’t heard of this happening before but this is what the family wants and there is nothing in the law to say they can’t do it.
“It gives them some comfort and I would like to say congratulations to the crematorium for giving them the service they wanted.”
The bespoke coffin was taken to the crematorium in a horse-drawn carriage and was inscribed with the words: ‘Goodbyes are not forever, goodbyes are not the end. They simply mean we’ll miss you... until we meet again.’
Kelly, 38, who runs Queensway florist Kelly’s Creations with husband Rikki Lewis, says she now plans to have a tattoo featuring the same poem.
She said: “It was definitely nice to know they were together right until the end. That gave us a sense of comfort.
“There was about 150 people there but I wasn’t surprised. They were well loved people.
“It was a nice sense of closure knowing that they have been laid to rest.”
The family released 40 ruby-coloured balloons to mark the popular couple’s anniversary on May 25 in the Ashridge estate – a favourite beauty spot of Kevin and Christine’s where they would go to watch the wildlife.
There are plans to scatter their ashes in Skegness, where the pair loved nothing more than taking holidays in their caravan together.
Kelly requested that any donations in memory of her parents be made to the Hospice of St Francis or Rennie Grove Hospice Care, where Kevin and Christine attended weekly social sessions and were also the only married couple to do so. Arrangements can be made through J&S Funeral Directors in Abbots Langley on 01923 262939.