Rail strikes: Network Rail helps Haughley widow over funeral

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Roy and Margaret ButtleImage source, Ashley Sargent
Image caption,
Roy and Margaret Buttle were married for 53 years

A widow who feared her husband's best Army friend could not attend his funeral due to the rail strikes said she was "elated" that Network Rail offered an alternative solution.

Margaret Buttle, from Haughley, rang BBC Radio Suffolk to say how the friend, known as Geordie and who is in his 80s, would not be able to travel from Newcastle for Saturday's service.

After the live radio interview, Network Rail offered to cover a taxi fare.

Mrs Buttle said she "can't believe it".

"I'm so emotional, I really, really am; thank you is such a silly word but how do you say thank you to people like you who have done what you've done and to Network Rail?" the 74-year-old asked listeners when she came on air afterwards.

"Everyone is moaning about it [the strike] but on this occasion they've really come through."

Mrs Buttle lost her husband Roy, 81, to cancer on 25 May after 53 years of marriage.

They are holding a private cremation for him in Bury St Edmunds followed by a thanksgiving service in Haughley.

Mother-of-two Mrs Buttle, who has four grandchildren, said the train strikes had caused "absolute chaos" in terms of friends and family travelling from across the country.

She said her husband had served with Geordie in the 1960s when British troops were stationed in Aden (in modern-day Yemen) during a period of insurgency.

She said she was particularly disappointed when Geordie rang to say he could not come as he would not be able to drive for five hours.

"It's such an icing on the cake, knowing he can come now," she said.

Network Rail confirmed they had offered to organise a taxi.

The rail strikes are happening on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday in a dispute over pay and conditions.

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