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  1. ITV Report

Family 'devastated' after war veteran grandfather's ashes stolen from car boot

Thieves have stolen the ashes of a 91-year-old war veteran from the boot of a car.

Fred Cooke died after suffering with dementia and his loved ones intended to scatter his ashes in the same resting place as his late wife Margaret.

The family, including his 20 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren, planned to hold a special service at Denton Cemetery.

Fred, a retired electrician, was in the Royal Signals during the Second World War. Credit: MEN Media

While they waited for a new memorial stone to be engraved, Fred’s daughter Gail Dillon kept the ashes in the boot of her car for safekeeping.

But after a holiday in Cornwall, Gail returned to find the ashes and the wooden box had been stolen.

Fred's children and grandchildren say they are badly shaken by the theft. Credit: MEN Media

I’m devastated. Our parents are meant to be together in one grave and now that may not happen.

I wouldn’t have thought the ashes could be mistaken for something else and there’s clearly a brass plaque on the box.

I thought they’d be safe in the drive.

– Gail Dillon, daughter

Nothing else was taken.

Gail added “I feel terrible. I just want the ashes back, they mean so much to all the family.

“I have no idea who might have done this. I think it must be kids, I can’t see an adult doing this. “

Gail had to telephone her siblings to break the news to them. Credit: MEN Media

Andrew Dillon, one of Fred’s grandchildren, said the family had been badly shaken by the theft.

We just can’t believe anyone would do such a thing.

We need them to realise what they’ve done and put it right.

– Andrew Dillon, grandson