December 10 2013 Latest news:
By DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP
Monday, October 22, 2012
The couple who helped put a man to rest after he was found washed up on a north Norfolk beach more than two decades ago have today been paying tribute to him after DNA revealed his identity.
Les and Jean Amis, owners of Cromer and District Funeral Services, were pleased when they discovered a recent police investigation had revealed the body found on Weybourne beach in 1989 as Michael Sutherland.
The couple, who have been running the business for 25 years, were instrumental in organising the funeral back in April 1990.
Mrs Amis, 71, said she was happy the family could finally have closure.
“At the time we didn’t think anyone would turn up to the service,” she said. “But when Les returned from the church and told me parishioners from Weybourne had attended and had brought flowers from their own gardens I was so happy.”
A cremation had been the first option suggested by North Norfolk District Council but Mrs Amis said she was determined to give the then unidentified Mr Sutherland a burial.
“I thought if anyone finds out who he was then the family could come and visit if they needed to.”
And now, 23 years on, the couple are preparing to attend the dedication service, organised by Mr Sutherland’s sister, Ann Stockton.
Mrs Amis added: “This was the first time we had done a burial under these circumstances. We arranged everything, such as flowers, the date, time. And the vicar said he would not charge to have a church service.”
The couple said it was “lovely” to see Mr Sutherland’s photograph for the first time, to finally see his face.
“It must have been awful for the family not knowing where he had been for all these years,” Mrs Amis added.
“We were just so pleased to give Michael a good send-off because he belonged to somebody – I am just so pleased for the family.”
● The dedication will be at All Saints Church, Weybourne, next Thursday (November 1).