Dead, and still calling bingo numbers at a nursing home. Could it be a voice from the great beyond? Or just a very big mix-up?
Councillors at the Stalybridge District Assembly were deeply saddened when one of their members announced that they’d read in the newspaper of the passing of 84-year-old Jack Brooks, a former branch secretary for his area in the SDA, World War II commando, and much-loved personality and friend. He was said to have died in his sleep, much to the dismay of the other council members, who had heard that he was unwell, but thought that he had been getting better.
Assembly members then spoke in his memory, and honoured the departed with a minute’s silence.
Meanwhile, elsewhere, the very same Jack Brooks was very much “number 5, man alive” and calling bingo numbers for residents of his retirement home, blissfully unaware of the fact that he was supposedly dead, and being mourned by his friends.
Luckily for Jack, on further inspection later that day, Councillor Bernard Walsh noticed the obituary had been for Ken Brooks, 85, another war-veteran and member of the same council. A call to the retirement home confirmed this – the warden said that she had seen Jack “alive and well” 40 minutes earlier, and surmised that he had been heartily yelling out bingo numbers at the very same time that the District Assembly were holding their sad silence. Though now mourning the loss of Ken Brooks, the councillors were able to have a laugh about the mix-up later, and though they had lost one friend, they were thrilled to learn that they hadn’t lost the other.
Councillors had paid tribute to Jack’s dry sense of humour, and he received the news of the mistake with good spirits, saying, “I must confess I have been a bit under the weather but I’m not dead yet and reports of that are greatly exaggerated.” Reports say that Jack is on the mend, and should be “staying alive” at 85, and hopefully even 90 won’t be “end of the line” (for those readers who speak bingo lingo).
For anyone who may have heard of Jack’s demise, but not of his apparent resurrection, and sees the popular octogenarian in the Ridge Hill area, Councillor Ken Welsh advises, “Don’t worry – it’s not an apparition”.