Born in Kent in 1941, Hazel Murgatroyd had retired to the Isle of White where she died in November 2013, without leaving a will and with no known next of kin.
The case had been referred to the Finders team privately, but Finders boss Daniel Curran said his team would be investigating the case as a matter of urgency because it would be safe to assume other heir hunting firms might learn of it and look into Hazel’s circumstances themselves.
Hazel had worked in the civil service all of her life. A neighbour who also lived on the Isle of White described her as a fairly reserved and private person, but remembered her for the pride she took in her car – she had a personalised number plate and she drove her car like a racing driver.
Hazel had been born to her parents Morris and Maud nine years after they had married. The couple had no other children, so Daniel and his team looked to her mother and father’s families for heirs to Hazel’s estate. The team discovered that Morris Murgatroyd had worked in the auxiliary fire service during the war and would have played an important part of the efforts against the German bombing of London which began in September 1940.
Morris had been one of 10 children and the Finders team traced a cousin of Hazel – Malcolm, who had done his own research into the family tree. Thanks to this research the Finders team were able to add further to their knowledge of Hazel’s potential heirs, by comparing Malcolm’s knowledge with their own.
Malcolm remembered Hazel – she had been a very tall lady (at almost 6ft) and family legend had it that she’d had four inches taken off her legs some years ago to make her shorter. He also remembered her as reticent and a bit of a loner.
In the belongings she had left behind, Malcolm and another cousin Trevor found a letter addressed to Hazel from 10 Downing Street and the then prime minister Harold Macmillan, which thanked the team of civil servants that Hazel had been part of for the work they did during the 1975 referendum.
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