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Funeral provider saves the day after siblings' epic journey to make father's service

PUBLISHED: 16:14 06 August 2019 | UPDATED: 13:16 07 August 2019

Marcus Stephan, who lives in Spain. Picture: Marcus Stephan

Marcus Stephan, who lives in Spain. Picture: Marcus Stephan

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A doctor has thanked the community for delaying his father's funeral after a series of calamities made him and his sister miss the original service.

Barbara and Edward Stephan, from Beccles. Picture; Contributed by Marcus StephanBarbara and Edward Stephan, from Beccles. Picture; Contributed by Marcus Stephan

Marcus, 60, and Wendy Stephan, 58, who live in Spain, had meticulously planned to arrive in Beccles on the day of their father's funeral.

Dr Stephan said: "Our flights were arranged to get us to Beccles for the early hours of August 1, but there was an incident on the road and because we run a business we timed everything carefully.

"There were no other flights that night, even driving through the night to Madrid was to no avail as there were no seats.

"Luckily a flight left Malaga in the early morning into Gatwick with some seats available, so we took off not knowing if we would miss our father's funeral or not. Airport police had even been asked to meet us at the gate and speed us through the airport," the 60-year-old said.

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However, there were no landing slots available at Gatwick, so they were stuck on the plane for an hour in Malaga.

"I called my mother and said 'I don't think I can make it' to our father's funeral," he added, "it was like one of those films."

Their father Edward Stephan, who moved to Beccles in the late 70s, was a local councillor and ran two businesses. Dr Stephan said his father had a rich sense of humour until his final moments.

"My father may have even set it as a challenge - he had that sense of humour," he said.

While the pair painstakingly travelled from Spain, not knowing whether they would make the funeral, the Co-op funeral care in Beccles and Waveney Memorial Park had worked their magic, delaying the funeral until that afternoon.

"Once we eventually landed we were met with the news that the Co-Op funeral service in Beccles had managed to save the day, they moved the service into the afternoon, and all the mourners were happy to re-arrange their day.

"I don't know if there is such a thing as Beccles spirit, but we definitely felt it. From Spain to all in Beccles 'Muchas Gracias'."

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