Widow's trip to bury late husband's ashes ruined when suitcase was left behind

A widow’s poignant trip to bury some of her late husband’s ashes along with their wedding rings was ruined when the airline left her suitcase behind.

Joyce Jackson, 78, flew to Florida last month hoping to leave the mementos at their favourite holiday destination – Walt Disney World in Orlando.

But she claims Virgin Atlantic accidentally left the case containing them at Manchester Airport and blamed their ‘flimsy’ tag which she believes must have fallen off.

Mrs Jackson, from Abergele in North Wales, booked the journey in memory of her husband Gordon and planned it close to what would have been his 80th birthday and their anniversary.

She hoped to bury the treasured items in a garden at the Caribbean Beach Resort where they holidayed together scores of times.

Mrs Jackson said: ‘Gordon absolutely loved it there. He would talk to the characters. It wasn’t a pilgrimage but I wanted to bury some of his ashes and our wedding rings there.

‘But it was as if Virgin Atlantic didn’t care.’

A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said: ‘We’re sincerely sorry that Mrs Jackson did not receive her luggage in Orlando, particularly in these circumstances.

‘We’re investigating what happened at Manchester Airport and will be in touch with Mrs Jackson directly.’

She went on: ‘At Manchester Airport I was told I had to use the self-service bag drop. I did that and got a luggage label. A man put it on.

‘It wasn’t a sticky label where you loop it round a handle and stick both ends together. It was more like a paper one. But it must have come off.

‘I got to Orlando, and no luggage. I travel light and I only had what I was wearing – not even a toothbrush.

‘But the worst thing about it was the ashes and rings were in the suitcase. I know you can’t take a person’s ashes with you so I only had a few ashes and our wedding rings.

‘I was going to bury them in a garden at Caribbean Beach Resort. The main ashes are in a rose pot in our garden.’

Mrs Jackson estimates she spent about £700 extra on clothes and toiletries to replace those in her lost suitcase.

She says it was only located when a duty manager in Orlando traced it to Manchester Airport – where it had been all along.

The widow believes it was the last chance to bury those few ashes and sentimental rings, saying: ‘I can’t go back because I can’t afford it and I’m 78.’

Married for 57 years, Joyce and Gordon had tied the knot at St John’s Baptist Church in Sussex Street, Rhyl, on September 26, 1964.

He was a vocalist and rhythm guitarist in the band Brian Sharpe and the Senators and later a vocalist and bassist in his own band Mr Blue in the Eighties.

Joyce owned JJ’s Bridal Veils shop in Kinmel Bay and Gordon was a council joiner. Later he worked in sales at the shop until they left in 2009. Their daughter Tracey runs it now.

But tragedy struck last year when Mr Jackson had an accident and died on June 3.

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