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Grieving daughter calls for help for dad's send-off after funeral plan's collapse

A grieving daughter of a much-loved paramedic has called for more help around funeral plans as she aims to give her dad a proper send-off.

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Bob Lee was found dead at home on December 4

Rachael Lee has been left with finding the £3,000 needed to give her father Bob Lee the funeral she said he deserves after his years of selfless service following the collapse of the firm he had a pre-paid plan with.

Mr Lee, who was found dead aged 70 at his home in Brownhills by his daughter on December 4, had paid for the funerals of both himself and his wife Carol through funeral plans handled by Safe Hands, which collapsed in March 2022, throwing 46,000 customers' contracts into doubt.

Ms Lee said she believed that her father had paid £3,750 for each funeral and had called Safe Hands when he died, only to find they had gone into administration.

She then said she had gone through the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the administrators for Safe Hands and Central Co-op, but had been told the plans no longer had any value.

Rachael Lee said her life had been turned upside down by the death of her father

She said: "When my dad died, my life changed as I'm an only child, so I called Safe Hands and found out they'd gone into administration, so I called the FCA because I know that products are always regulated.

"They told me that, unfortunately, the plans were no longer, so they said I could try the administrators, but they said that unless I had every single detail, they were not going to call me back, which I don't have.

"I went around in circles with them, then called the Central Co-op, who I asked to check the system as the FCA seemed to think some of it might have been transferred to Dignity or Central Co-op, but they told me that there was no value in the plan as there was no money when Safe Hands went into administration.

"That meant that when the administrators settled the debt, there was nothing to transfer, so that was a shock for me to find out about."

Ms Lee said that alongside his work as a paramedic, for which he worked for Staffordshire Ambulance Service for four decades, he was also a parish councillor, a community campaigner, and a devoted member of his local church.

Mr Lee was a community leader and a devoted husband to his wife Carol

She said he was also devoted to his wife Carol, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2017 and who he visited two or three times a day.

Ms Lee said the issue with the funeral plans had hit her hard and had left her struggling to help give her father, who she said was loved by the whole community, the send-off she felt he deserved.

She said: "I spoke to someone recently about counselling and he told me how he had known my dad for 15 years and said that any journalist looking for a quote for a story would get Bob Lee and he would always help the press out and go above and beyond.

"He was a first responder and did community work and championed the trust and the service of the NHS and the ambulance service, which he was so proud of, and the bosses from Staffordshire Ambulance Service spoke so fondly of him.

"I'm holding it together as best as I can, but it's really turned my world upside down and I know my parents have already paid for their funerals once, so I hope that I can spread awareness about this and get the costs covered and give him the funeral he deserves."

Ms Lee said she had received a lot of messages from people who her father had met and said the community were genuinely heartbroken, with one person having set up a fundraiser to cover the costs of the funeral, which Ms Lee said was likely to cost around £3,000.

He served Staffordshire Ambulance Service for four decades as a first responder

She said she would like to see more regulation put in around funeral plans to ensure that what happened to her family didn't happen to other people and help given to vulnerable people.

She said: "A few things I would like to draw from this is spread awareness that families like mine could going through issues like this, with nothing in place to safeguard them and we seem to abandon people when they are most vulnerable.

"On the funeral plan side, I would like the FCA to take more of a lead on this as 46,000 people have lost out, not just me, and there's a lot of people who bought these plans in good faith and I'd like to see the FCA do something about this.

"We can't keep quiet about this as my dad can't speak for himself, but I can and I'd like something to be done about this and for things to be settled."

To find out more about Bob Lee and to donate to the fundraiser, go to As of Wednesday afternoon, £1,700 had been raised.