WRITE IN Un­veil­ing a grave

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Back in De­cem­ber 2010, you were good enough to send me a copy of the De­ceased On­line burial record of my great grand­fa­ther Harry Dun­can, Hol­loway boxer and English cham­pion. Since then I have put that in­for­ma­tion to good use. A cou­ple of years back I went down to the St Pan­cras and Is­ling­ton Ceme­tery, East Finch­ley, Lon­don, hop­ing to find Harry’s grave.

The ceme­tery of­fice staff showed me a hefty old record book list­ing buri­als, and con­firmed the date Henry Dun­can was buried there in 1934. I was given a ceme­tery map with the lo­ca­tion as plot 6 ‘O’. The staff men­tioned that this was on a pau­pers’ site and I would prob­a­bly not find any­thing, which shocked me a bit as I was hop­ing to find a grand head­stone. So, map in hand, off I went. Un­for­tu­nately I did not bank on the vast­ness of the ceme­tery and even with my fairly good mapread­ing skills it still took a while to lo­cate the plot, with all the snaking roads and path­ways. I ar­rived at a very over­grown wooded area with no ob­vi­ous graves to be seen apart from a few bro­ken mark­ers, which were well worn. ‘Now what?’ I thought.

Luck­ily the staff were able to find a plot plan of that site, which was in­di­vid­u­ally marked with ap­pro­pri­ate grave num­bers, Harry is num­ber 17348. This was a great help, so I was now able to ori­en­tate the map and find his burial site, which did have some head­stones. Suc­cess, I found my great grand­fa­ther! I was stand­ing and pon­der­ing over his grave, won­der­ing how this great sports­man ended up in a pau­pers’ site with no head­stone and no ac­knowl­edge­ment of his achieve­ments, whichch I thought­thought waswas all very sad. So when I got home I put the wheels in mo­tion and or­dered a stone plaque from my lo­cal stone­ma­son. A few months later, the plaque was fin­ished. This was laid at Harry’s grave and what a lovely job they made of it, a fit­ting trib­ute to my great grand­fa­ther.

Since then, I have cre­ated a web­site ded­i­cated to Harry Dun­can, English wel­ter/mid­dleweight cham­pion, full of facts, pho­to­graphs and fight records at nigel­hard­ing.wix.com/har­ry­dun­can­boxer – please do take a look, see what you think. Nigel Harding, by email Editor replies: What an amaz­ing way to re­mem­ber your great grand­fa­ther Nigel! Not only is your ded­i­ca­tion to lo­cat­ing his fi­nal rest­ing place com­mend­able, but to ac­tu­ally have a plaque carved for him is re­ally go­ing above and be­yond. You’ve set the bar high for the rest of us now!

Nigel Harding’s cham­pion box­ing

fore­bear Harry Dun­can; In­set: Harry’s

new stone plaque


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