DISTRAUGHT friends of man who died in a city centre bank have launched a fundraiser to finally lay him to rest after spending nearly two months lying in a morgue.
The Evening News reported in January how fun-loving Michael Hodgson collapsed from a heart problem in front of shocked customers at Barclays on Princes Street.
An initial tug-of-love between Mr Hodgson’s family in Yorkshire and friends in the Capital over funeral arrangements has been resolved so plans for his cremation can go ahead.
“After seven weeks he still hasn’t been laid to rest as his family who all live in England can’t afford to cremate him so it is all up to me and my close friends to take over and give this wonderful man a final resting place,” said pal Stacey Clark, 30.
“He loved Edinburgh and would want to be laid to rest here so we have plans to scatter his ashes all around Edinburgh at the places he loves most, but we need help.”
The 57-year-old former chef lived in Broomhouse and moved from Huddersfield to Edinburgh more than five years ago.
He was welcomed into Stacey’s family after they met at the Cooper’s Rest pub run by her mum.
It was originally believed that Stacey and other friends in Edinburgh would be arranging the grandad’s funeral.
But then his family confirmed their intention to bring Michael home to Huddersfield so he can be buried with his father.
Both family and friends have now agreed that Michael’s final resting place will be his adoptive city.
“Any donation will go to funeral costs,” said Stacey. “I’m a single parent working part time and studying at college so money is tight.
“He deserves more than this and more than lying in a morgue for seven weeks so we want to get the ball rolling asap.
“We have been fighting for that long to get the rights from his family to be able to go through with this and we are over the moon that us as his “family” finally get the chance to say goodbye.
“We will not give up and I will pay for this for the rest of my life if I have to – after all he did for me and my son that’s the least he deserves.
“We would greatly appreciate anything at all to help us out.”
Daughter Misha Louise, 25, described her dad as the life and soul of the party and recalled his final words to her on the morning he died.
“We spoke briefly on the morning and he told me he was getting the tram into the city centre,” Misha said.
“Afterwards I messaged him to say I’ll phone him later on Monday. He messaged back at 10.01am saying ‘OK sweetie. I’ll speak to you later. I look forward to it.’
“Then around half an hour later he died. Police came to my home in Huddersfield and it was like the world just froze.
“It’s like the world stopped and the play button hasn’t been pressed yet.”
Anyone wishing to donate to Michael Hodgson’s funeral costs can do so by visiting the fundraising page at: https://www.gofundme.com/g6uju3-help-lay-our-friend-to-rest