Essex Live : Distant family of 104-year-old Harlow woman have been tracked down and will attend her funeral

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Daisy died at the grand age of 104

Distant relatives of a 104-year-old Harlow woman who died at her care home have been tracked down.

Daisy Staines, who lived at St Michaels Close, passed away as the oldest resident at her care home but had no family or friends to attend her funeral.

That was until distant relatives Valerie Herrtage and Alan Gerken were tracked down by a team of genealogists, after our story gained nearly 4,000 shares.

Valerie and Alan are both first cousins once removed of Daisy – that is to say that both of their mothers were cousins with her.

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Daisy and her husband

Daisy was taken into care at Ashlyns Care Home on September 28, 2010, after she developed dementia.

And though she was popular among residents and carers alike at the home, she sadly had no known family or friends by her side in her last days.

But after discovering the news of their shared ancestry, both Valerie and Alan confirmed they will be going along to her funeral.

Valerie, 70, lives in Chingford and said: “We are fairly certain she was my grandmother’s niece or my mother’s cousin.

“I had not seen much initially about it in the press.

“It was just interesting – I had never really done much on my family tree.

“But I do remember my mum talking about my cousin Daisy.

“I wish I had realised earlier.

“My daughter Googled her name and it came up with your story. I recognised the wedding photo as it had been amongst my grandmother’s photos which she had given to me.”

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Valerie recognised this wedding day photo

Alan, a distant cousin to both Valerie and Daisy, will also be going to her funeral.

Daisy was a keen ballroom dancer in her youth and her carers said she had a passion for dance and music.

Activity co-ordinator, Alison Armstrong, said: “When she came to us, she had dementia. She had a brother called Fred who would come and visit her regularly but we think he has since passed away.

“Daisy was a very keen dancer, she used to enjoy talking about dancing with her late husband and looking at old photos of them both.

“She was such a character, she had a great sense of humour and she was also telling us stories about the war years.”

Daisy, who was born in Tottenham, London, in 1913, married in 1939 when she was 25 years old. Her husband died in 1980.

Alison continued: “She had her favourite people and only let people in who she trusted and liked but she loved other people’s company.

“Her main fashion statement was wigs and she used to put them on and dance around her room.

“She loved anything floral and green, and she loved cats and animals. Whenever we had therapy dogs in, her face would just light up.”

Daisy had three brothers, Joe, George and Fred, who also lived in Harlow and died last year at 103 years old.

Daisy will leave Ashlyns at 10.15am on May 18, with her funeral being held at the crematorium in Parndon Wood Road at 10.45am.

Finders International established Daisy’s lineage and managed to track down her relatives.

This article has been first published in Essex Live