Body of beloved Norwich father Lee Archer could finally be brought home
The agonising two-year wait to bring home a beloved Norwich father could be coming to an end, as his body has been formally identified.
Lee Archer died swimming off the coast of Cuba in December 2015, and his family has been battling to bring his body home for burial.
His son, Beau Archer, 26, has raised more than £15,000 to cover the costs of his father’s repatriation to the UK.
The formal identification of Mr Archer’s body is a big step towards bringing him home, as a death certificate can be issued and the process of repatriation begin.
Beau described the news as “a weight off my shoulders”. He said the last two years had been “a very frustrating time”, and that they were “held up by a lack of formal identification”.
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Mr Archer’s family could not deal with the Cuban authorities directly and had to go through the British Embassy.
Mr Archer was identified after the British Embassy sent over his fingerprints to the Cuban authorities ten months ago. Last week they were matched with the fingerprints on his body. Beau added that “importantly, we can now have a smooth process [of repatriation]”.
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Typically in Cuba, a body cannot be exhumed until two years after burial, but this was originally overruled in Mr Archer’s case.
However, his son said that working around this was still “taking time”, but that “working with the British Embassy quickened the process”.
Beau and Mr Archer’s family and friends’ fundraising efforts to bring his body home included a sky dive, a soul music night, and a 24-hour ‘gym-athon’.
They have reached a total of more than £15,000 to pay the costs of repatriation. As Mr Archer did not have any travel insurance, his family are having to pay the full cost.
Beau said: “All my family and I can do at the moment is fundraise. But it will happen, I will make sure of that.”
He described his father, who was born in 1958 and died aged 57, as “the life and soul of the party”.
He was a well-known figure in Norwich, for his work as a florist and Christmas tree seller.
Mr Archer spent the last years of his life travelling, in Thailand, Costa Rica and Cambodia.
His son said: “We have a family plot in Norwich, which is where he belongs.
“He may have been a free spirit who travelled the world but Norwich will always be his home.”