Joint funeral takes place for tragic couple

The house on Great Meadow, Astley Village, where Harold and Joan Riding were found dead
The house on Great Meadow, Astley Village, where Harold and Joan Riding were found dead

Family and friends said goodbye yesterday to a devoted couple, who were both found dead at their home.

A joint funeral was held at Charnock Richard Crematorium for Harold Riding, 81, and wife Joan, 76.

The couple were cremated together and their ashes will remain together when they are put in their final resting place, as yet not chosen.

Harold’s nephew, Paul Riding, said the couple “lived for each other”.

He said: “We will make sure they are together.”

Harold and Joan were both found dead at their home on Great Meadow, Astley Village, on Tuesday, April 14.

At the time, it was not known how the couple had died and police said while they were treating their deaths as “unexplained”, they did not believe there were any suspicious circumstances.

Post-mortem examinations have now revealed they both died of natural causes.

It is understood that Harold had died before his wife, possibly up to three weeks before they were found.

A police spokesman said a file would be passed to the coroner for inquests.

Paul said finding out how the couple had died gave the family “peace of mind”.

He said: “We know there’s no foul play and no suicide, so that’s a bit better, even though they are both dead.

“It’s a sad thing, but it’s tied up all the loose ends.”

Paul, 57, who also lives on Great Meadow, said the family had received flowers and messages since Harold and Joan died.

And he thanked the police, undertaker and everyone else who had been involved for all their kindness and help.

Harold and Joan had lived on Great Meadow since the 1970s, having previously lived in Australia and Rhodesia through Harold’s work as a concrete piling engineer.

They had no children.

Paul described them as a “devoted couple” who “kept themselves to themselves”.

His partner, Cheryl Ward, raised the alarm after becoming concerned when Harold had not collected a prescription and she was not able to contact them.

Neighbours said Harold and Joan were “an absolutely lovely couple” and spoke of seeing Harold go out every morning to get a newspaper.