Funeral for Dewsbury woman robbed of savings during illness

Funeral of Michelle Goodhall.
Funeral of Michelle Goodhall.

A terminally-ill mum who had her funeral savings stolen by thugs had a fitting send off - after Good Samaritans offered to pay for her service.

Michelle Goodall, 36, died at a hospice last week after succumbing to an illness following complications in a lung transplant.

The cherished mum-of-two was bereft when yobs broke into her Dewsbury Moor home, at the end of October last year stealing £7,000 in cash from her bedroom that she had saved for her ceremony.

The suspects later returned less than 48 hours later and allegedly pushed her head into a wall as they barged into her kitchen before leaving empty-handed.

But thanks to the generous benefactors, the family were able to give her a send off free of charge and they gathered on Wednesday to remember her life.

Husband John Goodall and the couple’s daughters Laura and Nicola, 14 and16, attended the ceremony, along with 100 others who came to pay their final respects.

John, 61, said: “It’s unbelievable that there are people willing to help you.

“Michelle was very grateful that she didn’t have to worry about it anymore.”

The funeral, held at Dewsbury Crematorium, was arranged and held by the National Federation of Funeral Directors who solved the family’s plight after reading the about story in a newspaper.

William Ecclestone, who helped arrange the service, said not a penny was paid by the grieving family and celebrant Dr Geoff Gardner had agreed to carry out the ceremony for free.

Even the flowers were donated by kind florists.

Mr Ecclestone said: “When we heard about the theft and that there were two teenage girls involved, we had to do something.

“This is the least we could do for them.

“It’s important to put the tragic event of the money being stolen behind them and move on with their lives.”

A eulogy at the service paid a moving tribute to Michelle, who had been ill and disabled for 12 years and needed full-time care from husband John.

The eulogy, read by Dr Gardner, said: “From an early age Michelle was always seen with a smile and loved to make other people smile, which she achieved.

“Michelle was a charismatic, attractive and very popular girl who I understand would love to have outrageous colours on her hair.

“She adored her two lovely daughters Nicola and Laura who in their own way will miss her greatly.”

Speaking after the service, Michelle’s aunt Hazel Brook said: “Michelle was very brave and fought right to the very end.

“She was loved by everyone - she had it so hard but she’s been so courageous dealing with it all.”

Mrs Brook, 64, added: “It’s wonderful that someone stepped in and made sure she got the funeral she deserved.

“Through all the good and bad in the world there’s a lot more good.

“She would have been so happy with the service and would be up there smiling.”

Guests at the service were played Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You and recent Sam Smith hit Lay Me Down as they fought back the tears.

The poem “Do Not Stand at my Grave and Weep” was also read to commemorate Michelle’s life.

A 14-year-old boy and 24-year-old man were arrested in November in connection with the theft and released on bail.

West Yorkshire Police said inquiries into the case were still ongoing.