Annesley Woodhouse widow appeals to MP for help repatriating husband’s heart

Gloria Di Piero visits Susan Scrimshaw who is battling to have her dead husbands heart repatriated from spain where he died.
Gloria Di Piero visits Susan Scrimshaw who is battling to have her dead husbands heart repatriated from spain where he died.

A widow from Annesley Woodhouse has desperately appealed for help repatriating her husband’s heart from Spain.

Susan Scrimshaw found her husband Tony dead in bed the morning before they were due fly home from a holiday in the resort of Roquetas De Mar in July.

Spanish authorities carried out a post-mortem and certified Mr Scrimshaw’s death as cardio-respiratory arrest.

After the 59-year-old’s body was returned home, Nottinghamshire Coroner’s Office ordered a second post-mortem but pathologists discovered his heart was missing.

The inquest was subsequently adjourned for the return of the organ for examination in Nottinghamshire as, without it, the cause of Mr Scrimshaw’s death could not be ascertained.

Despite assurances from the Coroner’s Office that staff were working with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to assist with repatriating Mr Scrimshaw’s heart, the burden has since been placed on his widow to contact Spanish authorities herself.

Mrs Scrimshaw, of Forest Close, turned to Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero, who has written to the Coroner’s Office and Foreign Secretary William Hague on behalf of the family asking for a swift resolution to the issue.

The family said Mr Scrimshaw, a precision engineer, had a health check-up before he went on holiday and was declared fit and healthy.

Mrs Scrimshaw said: “Tony’s death was so sudden and we just want to find out what happened.

“If he had a heart problem that hadn’t been detected then possibly members of the family would have to be tested.

“We were told that the organ was probably retained for further tests and we’re concerned about the length of time it’s taking.

“It’s been a very long process and we just need to know.”

Mr Scrimshaw was cremated in August and, since then Mrs Scrimshaw has been in regular contact with the Coroner’s Office.

In September, Mrs Scrimshaw received a letter stating the office was working to achieve repatriation of her husband’s heart. The recent news that she would need to contact Spanish authorities directly as Mr Scrimshaw’s next of kin came as a “devastating” blow, prompting her to ask the MP to intervene.

She added: “I feel that I have done everything that I could have only to be tripped up at the last minute. I don’t want another family to go through this.”

Gloria said: “This is a very, very tragic case. Mrs Scrimshaw needs answers and we will be approaching the right people to get the family those answers.”

Mr and Mrs Scrimshaw had been married for 38 years and have two children, two grandchildren and one stepgrandchild.

The couple had been on a 12-night holiday with Mr Scrimshaw’s parents Pat and Sheila.

Chad was unable to contact Nottinghshire Coroner’s Office for comment yesterday despite repeated attempts.