Mum of 7/7 bombings victim left in tears as Ipswich gravestone is cleaned and decorated by Good Samaritan
PUBLISHED: 17:33 14 July 2015 | UPDATED: 10:21 15 July 2015
The mother of one of the London bombing victim feared her son's grave would be overgrown when she made the 250-mile trip to Ipswich but was overwhlemed to find someone had tended to the plot in her absence.
Fresh flowers and hockey equipment has been placed at the grave of Richard Gray, a father-of-two and keen hockey player from Ipswich, who was one of 52 people killed in the 2005 London bombings as he commuted to work.
His mother, Maureen Hodge, who had travelled 250 miles from her home in Somerset to pay her respects, was overwhelmed by the anonymous gesture of goodwill which “restored her faith in humanity” and broke down in tears.
“I was expecting to find it a bit neglected following the estrangement of his widow and her family from Richard’s family,” she said.
Mrs Hodge and her husband John visited her son’s grave in Ipswich the day after attending a memorial event in London last week.
“We were totally unprepared to find the headstone cleaned, with fresh flowers and a new hockey stick – mounted on a wooden plinth with a hockey ball – placed next to it.
“It was all nice and clean and tidy and I just burst into tears because I was so overwhelmed that somebody had thought to do something.
“With all the unpleasant things which have been going on within the family, I think what made me cry is the thought that there are still decent people who care.
“It did, to a certain extent, restore my faith in humanity. There are good people around.”
Mr Gray, who lived in Irlam Road, was a founding member of the Ipswich and East Suffolk Hockey Club in 1986.
Mrs Hodge suspected a member of the hockey club was behind the kind act. The hockey club was contacted by the Star but did not say it was them.
Mrs Hodge said: “I would like to thank whoever did it from the bottom of my heart but I would really love to know who it was and have a phone number or an address maybe, as I can only pass on my thanks through the newspaper.
“But I would like to thank them personally. I really would because it has meant so much to me. It was so unexpected.”
She said the “awful stabbing pains” of hurt since her son’s death have stopped largely, but have been replaced by a constant “dull ache” as she continues to grieve.
“I think of Richard every single day,” she said.
“I have his photo by the bedside and I always say hello to him when I wake up and I always kiss him good night before I go to bed.
“He was kind, he was considerate and a very loving father and husband.”
A sad postscript to Mr Gray’s death came to a conclusion this month when his widow – who had been jailed for stealing £43,000 of the compensation awarded to her son for the loss of his father – successfully appealed her sentence.
Mrs Gray, now of Sheldrake Drive, was imprisoned by Ipswich Crown Court for 32 months earlier this year after admitting theft. On July 1, three Court of Appeal judges sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice cut her sentence to 18 months’ imprisonment.