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Ron keeps deathbed promise by returning mum to Bury St Edmunds

David Burroughs and his wife-to-be Paula Thomas at the grave of Ron's maternal grandparents
David Burroughs and his wife-to-be Paula Thomas at the grave of Ron's maternal grandparents

A terminally-ill man has travelled overseas to fulfil a promise made on his mother’s deathbed – that he would take her home to Bury St Edmunds.

Given just three months to live, cancer sufferer Ronald Jurkiewick decided it was time to journey from his home in the US state of Ohio to the English town that his mother, Eileen, had always spoken so fondly of.

Paula Thomas and David Burroughs with Ron and Cassandra Jurkiewick
Paula Thomas and David Burroughs with Ron and Cassandra Jurkiewick

But he and his wife, Cassandra, could not have imagined what Bury had in store for them, courtesy of David Burroughs and Paula Thomas, strangers they met by chance in Bury cemetery last Tuesday.

The Bury couple were visiting the grave of Paula’s aunt when Cassandra approached them, after three hours of frantic searching, to ask if they knew where plot 57 – the grave of Ron’s maternal grandparents, John Gordon Edhouse and Ivy nee Copping – was.

They did not know but they helped them find it nonetheless at which point a tearful Ron revealed it was his intention to scatter his parents’ ashes on the grave, fulfilling his mum’s dying wish to return to her Bury home.

“I had to hide behind the car and wipe my eyes,” said David, who felt ‘humbled’ to have been able to help.

He and Paula then spent the next few hours conducting a tour of Bury, which included the house in Cornfield Road where Ron’s mum, and her brother after whom he was named, were born.

They were even able to speak to the current homeowner who told them she remembered Ron’s grandparents, from whom she had bought the house, and invited the American visitors inside to take a look around.

Can you help?

David is now helping Ron search for his Bury St Edmunds family.

They are looking for relatives of Robert and Emma Copping – Ron’s great grandparents – who had eight children, George, Diddy, Mary Ann, Alice, Ivy, Vera, Cathy and Emma.

Ivy Copping married John Gordon Edhouse – Ron’s grandparents – and they had two children, Ronald Gordon and Eileen Stella.

Eileen, Ron’s mum, married Leonard John Jurkiewick, his dad.

It is known that Ron’s uncle, Ronald Edhouse, was a fire service mechanic and drove a big green truck around Suffolk. He married Catherina Christine Van De Broek and moved to Holland. Both are now dead and it is not known if they had any children.

Anyone with information on Ivy Edhouse nee Copping’s siblings and their descendants can email dburroughs00@hotmail.com.


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