Heir hunters reveal story of love and sacrifice behind time-capsule bungalow in Ormesby

The Parker family bungalow in Ormesby. When Margaret Parker died without a will it was left to her o

The Parker family bungalow in Ormesby. When Margaret Parker died without a will it was left to her only known local relative to trace any beneficiaries. - Credit: Paul and Helen Hudson

When a Norfolk spinster died without making a will and with no obvious heirs it fell to distant local relatives to track them down.

And as well as discovering 33 beneficiaries, a Lowestoft couple helped to deliver a £5000 charity windfall in their ancestor's memory.

Margaret Parker lived in the same tiny, time-warp bungalow in Ormesby almost all her life having been bombed out of Great Yarmouth's Rows.

She had two brothers, Harry and John, and all three of them were devoted to caring for their mother Elsie who died in 1979, and none of them married.

Their father, also Harry, had died at the age of 50 thirty years earlier.

From the family album: dad Harry, mum Elsie and their three children Harry, Margaret and John.

From the family album: dad Harry, mum Elsie and their three children Harry, Margaret and John. - Credit: Paul and Helen Hudson


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Sadly John, the youngest, died in 1992 at the age of 52, leaving just Harry and Margaret in the pre-fab property which remained pretty much as it was when they moved in in 1945.

Harry died in 2014 and Margaret a year later in March, aged around 82 and surrounded by all the things relating to her beloved brothers and parents she could not bear to part with.

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As she didn't leave a will her cousin's son Paul Hudson and his wife Helen had to clear the property and trace relatives.

Margaret's father was one of nine children, and one branch of the family had moved north to Hull and Cumbria further complicating the search.

John, Harry and Margaret Parker. The siblings lived all their days together in the bungalow they gre

John, Harry and Margaret Parker. The siblings lived all their days together in the bungalow they grew up in in Ormesby. - Credit: Paul and Helen Hudson

With a combination of diligent internet research and letters to local papers around the country most of the family members were found within six months.

But it took a further year to track down the last branch, mainly through social media.

In the end there were 33 beneficiaries.

As none had been expecting an inheritance and didn't know Margaret and her family existed, Mr and Mrs Hudson - who did not benefit from the legacy - asked for donations to a charity Margaret had supported, in lieu of their work sorting out the estate.

Paul and Helen Hudson with Madeleine Dodsworth from the Each fundraising team celebrate raising �500

Paul and Helen Hudson with Madeleine Dodsworth from the Each fundraising team celebrate raising �5000. - Credit: EACH

Their request lead to a £5,000 donation to East Anglia's Children's Hospice (EACH).

Mr Hudson said: 'We chose to raise the money in Margaret's memory for EACH because we knew from Margaret's cheque book that she had supported them in the past. She was a great supporter of a few charities but EACH is a cause that was closer to our hearts and one we thought the beneficiaries would also be keen to support.'

Madeleine Dodsworth from the EACH fundraising team said: 'This is such a lovely story about a local Norfolk family supporting the EACH Quidenham Hospice and care in the local Norfolk community.

'Paul and Helen have spent a long time on this project, and the donation of £5,000 is a lovely way to recognise their hard work and honour Margaret's memory.

'Their support really will make the world of difference to children and families in the Norfolk community.'

EACH cares for children and young people with life-threatening conditions across East Anglia and supports their families.

For more information about the charity visit www.each.org.uk.

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