Hard-boiled husband turns in his grave

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The Independent Online
Like many people who discover they are dying, Malcolm Eccles set about providing for his wife's needs after he was gone. He considered how he could help her best then had himself reincarnated as an egg timer.

Mr Eccles, 50, said the one thing his wife Brenda, 42, could not cook without him was a soft boiled egg. So after he died in February, Mrs Eccles arranged for glassblowers and joiners to incorporate his remains in a pounds 150 foot-high time piece.

"Its just what he wanted, I can see him now laughing his head off at me," she said.

Mr Eccles, a screen printer from Oldham, Greater Manchester, was diagnosed two years ago as suffering from bowel cancer. When doctors broke the news, he and his wife of 14 years went to a local beauty spot to try and come to terms with the shock.

"He said he had worked so hard all his life and enjoyed it, so he couldn't see why he should stop working when he was dead," she said.

"I can't boil a soft egg to save my life, he knew that and said I should turn some of his ashes into an egg timer - then he could help me and it would be a nice way of remembering him.

"He said: `At least when you turn me over it will make you smile rather than make you cry.'"

Staff from the specialist glassblowers LA Studios in Camberwell, south London, created the egg timer. They enlisted workmen from a neighbouring carpentry firm to make the stand.

"Normally we're used to making wine glasses and vases so this must have been the most extraordinary task we've ever had to undertake," said Andrew Hay, head of LA Studios. "It must have taken us four goes before we got it absolutely right. We just had to leave a hole in the top of the timepiece so we could pour the ashes in," he said.

Mrs Eccles said the couple's daughter, Leanne, thought the timer, which at present empties in under a minute, was "hilarious".

"Malcolm was as daft as a brush, he had a good sense of humour which he kept right through to the end," she said. "Now if people going through the same thing can get a smile or a laugh out of this then it will all be worthwhile."