A GRAND Christmas raffle will be held in memory of a Wolsingham man who died in March.

The raffle, in aid of Marie Curie, has been organised by Helen Little-Howe, the daughter of Ralph Little who died in early March aged 70, after a short battle with bladder cancer. Ralph’s funeral was held in the wake of the Covid lockdown that was instigated shortly after his death. It was a very difficult time in normal circumstances for his widow, Jeannie and his family, but made so much worse because of the pandemic.

Ralph wasn’t able to have the send-off he deserved and indeed many people were not aware he had died because of the shortness of his illness. His funeral was held the day after lockdown and the night before the Covid regulations came into force – and much of what the family had planned was cancelled. Only ten people were allowed to attend the service in Wear Valley Crematorium, led by Rev Bruce Sawyer.

Helen said, “It was heart – breaking, we all had to travel separately in our own cars, and go straight to the crem where we all had to sit two metres apart even though we lived in the same house. Then it was straight home because we weren’t allowed to hold any sort of wake.”

The family was helped by the Marie Curie charity and because they haven’t been able to hold the memorial service they had planned, due to the on-going crisis, Helen decided to raise money and awareness of the charity in Ralph’s memory with the raffle instead.

She has worked hard to secure over 60 prizes, including vouchers for meals, toiletries, alcohol and many other prizes.

Tickets are available at £1 each and can be obtained by texting Helen on 07581415398, by bank transfer to Helen Little sort code 20-09-44 account no: 00591904 or via paypal using the email little.helen31@yahoo.com. Buyers will then be contacted with a photograph of their tickets – the draw will take place on November 29.

Ralph Little was well-known, a man of good humour who never let anyone pass without a smile and a word. Under normal circumstances, his funeral would have been well-attended and he deserved that at the very least. As it is, his family are still raw from the shock of his passing.

Please help the family by buying some tickets.

Thanks to Anita Atkinson, for sharing the story.