Charity Worker’s Funeral Delayed
The funeral of Swansea graduate Michael Blakey (pictured) has been postponed while more tests are carried out on his body.More than 50 friends and colleagues of the 23-year-old charity had been planning to travel from Swansea for the service in his home town of Burnley, Lancashire, this week.
But the funeral has now been delayed, and is expected to take place in around two weeks.
The former Swansea University student was discovered face down in a stream in the Himalayan town of Dharamsala two weeks ago. He had been in northern India to help charity Tong-Len, working with homeless Tibetan refugees.
Indian police are treating his death as murder, and have arrested Pawan Bharadwaj, the husband of Rachel Owen, a charity co-worker.
Michael had flown out to India in June to attend the couple’s wedding.
Indian officers continue to question Mr Bharadwaj, but no charges have yet been brought, according to the Foreign Office.
Swansea University, meanwhile, has agreed to help out and provide grieving friends with assistance in attending Michael’s funeral.
Originally mourners intended to travel to Lancashire in a couple of cars. But the number of people wanting to show their respects has swollen so much that a bus is now being planned.
Friend Alice Crawford, whose son Ben was Michael’s godson, said: “We are now expecting the funeral to take place in about two weeks.
“There are at least 40 people planning to go, but there could be another 20, depending on when exactly it takes place.
“It shows just how much Michael touched people, even those who only knew him a little.
“He was involved with a lot of societies and charities, and people who he encountered through those have said they want to go, even if they only met him for a few days. He was such a genuine guy that he touched everybody’s lives.”
Michael’s brother Chris has now called for a memorial fund to be set up in Michael’s name.
He wants to help establish the help centre project which Michael was working on before he died.
“We want to concentrate on raising as much money as possible for the charity Tong-Len through his memorial fund, so something positive can come out of it,” he said.
Anyone wanting to contribute to the Michael Blakey memorial fund should visit: www.justgiving.com/MichaelBlakey