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Tragic Irish Kelly twins will be laid to rest in separate countries

Sean Kelly, the twins' first cousin. (Picture courtesy of RTE)
Sean Kelly, the twins’ first cousin. (Picture courtesy of RTE)

THE TRAGIC Kelly twins, who passed away within weeks of each other after years of estrangement will be laid to rest in separate countries. 

The Irish Post reported last month how estranged Irish twin brothers Bill and John Kelly, 77, passed away in January in North London without a next of kin to claim the bodies.

Despite hopes for them to be buried together, plans are underway to lay them to rest in separate countries.

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John Kelly is to be cremated in London on April 5 according to his final wishes, which were discovered in a will at his home.

Plans are still being discussed in relation to bringing Bill’s remains home to his native Cork for burial.

“John wanted to be cremated, he had that in the will they found, but we’re still hoping to bring Bill back to Ireland because he’d no will,” the twins’ cousin Seán Kelly told The Irish Post.

After Bill Kelly died from pneumonia in Whittington Hospital, North London, on January 29, it was discovered he had an estranged twin brother living in nearby Archway.

But when friends went to tell John Kelly about his brother’s death, it was discovered that he too had died in recent weeks.

An appeal led by The Irish Post resulted in family being found in their native Cork and over £6,000 raised for a funeral fund.

The brothers moved to London with their mother and sister at the age of 18, after the death of their father.

John settled in Archway, while Bill lived in Muswell Hill – just two miles away.

Little is known of their lives in London but they had been estranged for a number of years and Bill’s friends at Our Lady of Muswell Catholic Church were unaware he had a twin.

The initial plan for the twins was to bury them together but further digging by genealogy organisation Finders unearthed a will in John Kelly’s estate

He left all his belongings to charity and stated that in the event of his death, he should be cremated – which is scheduled to take place on April 5 by his local council.

The remains of Bill Kelly, who left no estate behind, lie in the hospital morgue at Whittington Hospital, some seven weeks after his death.

Mr Kelly is hoping to bring his estranged cousin home soon to bury him.

“We are just waiting to hear from the solicitors now and then we can make the arrangements,” he said.

“The plan would be to hold a mass in our local church then bury him in St Finbarr’s cemetery in Cork City with his father.”

The twins’ case is currently with Henry Boustred and Sons solicitors, based in North London.

A solicitor was unavailable for comment despite several attempts by The Irish Post to make contact with them – but Mr Kelly revealed he spoke with them about bringing Bill home.

The Irish Post fundraiser saw a total £6,240 donated to a fund to bring the brothers home – this money is now in place for Bill Kelly’s repatriation when the arrangements are finalised with the London solicitors.


James Mulhall

James Mulhall is a reporter with The Irish Post. Follow him on Twitter @JamzMulhall

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