Two years on, Spike Milligan's grave is still without headstone

Spike Milligan's desire to have his grave inscribed with the satirical words, "I told you I was ill", appeared to many a fitting epitaph to one of the country's greatest comics. Yet, more than two years after Milligan died, his last resting place still has no headstone.

Spike Milligan's desire to have his grave inscribed with the satirical words, "I told you I was ill", appeared to many a fitting epitaph to one of the country's greatest comics. Yet, more than two years after Milligan died, his last resting place still has no headstone.

Only a small angel on a plinth and a few flowers mark the spot in St Thomas's churchyard in Winchelsea, East Sussex.

Father Fred George, the locum priest at the church, said: "I would not know which one of the graves was his."

The locum priest, who explained that there had been no application for a headstone in the six months since he arrived at the church, insisted it was not unusual or significant. "There are many graves in the church yard that don't have memorials," he added. But, for James Milligan, the comic's youngest son, the lack of stone is a sore point. He said: "It's a total disgrace that there is no headstone at my father's grave. I've been trying for a year and a half to get one erected but with no success."

James, 27, whose mother, Margaret Maughan, had an eight-year affair with the Goons creator, only met his father at the age of 16 and remains estranged from most of the rest of the family. He claimed he was "frozen out" after his father's death and not invited to the funeral.

Earlier reports said that Milligan's third wife and widow, Shelagh, 59, was desperate to erect a fitting memorial but was awaiting approval from step-children, but James insisted his efforts to get a headstone in place had been blocked by the immediate family.

Milligan, who died aged 83 in February 2002, left three children from his first marriage, one from his second and two offspring born out of wedlock, and feuds broke out over his will. Last year, it was reported that the row over the grave had descended into farce when the angel, left by James, had been removed and replaced by a plain wooden cross which the local paper described as "more fitting for a pauper than the clown prince of comedy". The angel was later returned.

Fans of the comic think it is time a fitting memorial was put in place. Bill Horsman, the chairman of the Goon Show Preservation Society, said yesterday: "We are very sad about the whole situation. Spike was a genius and he deserves better recognition on his grave but only the family can sort this out."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Sport
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk