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Dublin: 7 °C Tuesday 12 November, 2019

No lonely funeral for Sean - plans underway to bury him next to his mum

Sean Parker died in England and a call was put out for people to attend his funeral. But the people of Glisnk went one better.

sean parker A photo of Sean Parker, used with permission. Source: Joe Duffy Show/Twitter

THE COMMUNITY OF Glinsk in Co Galway has been more united than ever over the death of one of its own – Sean Parker, who died in England without any family left to attend his funeral.

We reported last week that people in the Galway town had joined forces after hearing that Sean had died at the age of 79 in England.

He had never married, and spent the last years of his life in a nursing home. He moved at the age of 18 to London, and lived on the streets and in homeless hostels for part of his life.

An ad was put in the Galway Advertiser after his death, and then the search began for Sean’s family and friends.

Paul Edwards is Bereavement and Registration Services Manager at Medway Council. He put the ad in the paper in an attempt to find people who knew Sean.

If no family burial site, or way to repatriate Parker, is found, he will have a local authority funeral, Edwards told us last week.

He said he had received a huge amount of interest in the ad.

Edwards confirmed this week that there have been kind offers from funeral directors, and transport providers to help in Sean’s repatriation.

It is believed the finer details just need to be worked out, and then Sean should, all going to plan, be buried here at home in Ireland.

Galway search

Mickie Grady who remembers the Parker family when they resided in Glinsk. Mickie Grady, who remembers the Parker family when they resided in Glinsk. Source: Marty Ward

Across the Irish sea from Medway, Marty Ward and others have been working on tracing Sean Parker’s family in Co Galway.

They have been poring over records which they believe points to Sean Parker being ‘one of them’. They believe he lived in Glinsk as a child, and his mother is buried in the local graveyard. She passed away when Sean was 10.

With the locals’ help, Medway Council should hopefully be able to bring Sean for burial next to his mother in Glinsk.

James Shevlin former Principal of Ballincurry NS points to the name of Seán Parker in the old Roll Book James Shevlin, former Principal of Ballincurry NS, points to the name of Seán Parker in the old Roll Book Source: Marty Ward

“We’ll look forward to that happening and having the burial here in Glinsk,” Ward told

He told how he has been in contact with people at in Salt Lake City in Utah, USA, who have helped to locate the birth record for Sean’s sister Bridget.

“At that time, the family were living in Williamstown,” said Ward. This area is very near Glinsk. Bridget died in England, also unmarried, at the age of 70 in 2003.

They also believe another sister, Margaret – known as Peggy – lived in Ballaghaderreen, where her family had a butcher’s shop.

At Glinsk Castle - Mickie Grady-Jimmy Toole-John Cunniffe and Marty Ward at Glinsk Castle as they think of Seán Parker At Glinsk Castle - Mickie Grady-Jimmy Toole-John Cunniffe and Marty Ward at Glinsk Castle

“We’ve followed up a number of contacts that have come through the papers and radio, and so on,” said Ward. He said a “huge amount” of time and research went into finding Sean’s family members.

“So far we haven’t managed to trace a marriage certificate for Sean’s father, but that may yet turn up.”

For now, they await the finer details to be worked out, and hope that in the coming weeks Sean Parker will get to come home to Irish soil, and family, on his final journey.

When he does, he’ll also have new friends awaiting him – the people of Glinsk, who helped to bring him home.

Read: Community rallies to save ‘our Sean’ from unmarked burial in England>

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