A late RAF veteran has warmed the hearts of the nation from beyond the grave by leaving behind 14 years’ worth of Christmas presents for his neighbours’ two-year-old daughter – to be delivered following his death.
Ken Watson, a one-time cook at RAF Halton who went on to become a commercial diver, is being praised for epitomizing the spirit of Christmas by making sure he left behind a bag full of presents for his neighbours’ daughter Cadi – buying one for each year until she reached 16.
Neighbour Owen Williams was left stunned when Mr Watson's family delivered the black bag full of Christmas presents, not long after the death of 86-year-old Mr Watson, who doted on Cadi as he saw her grow up next door.
Mr Williams tweeted: “He always told us he’d live till he was 100-years-old, so these gifts would have taken him up to our little girl’s 16th Christmas.”
The tweet went viral within minutes and prompted an outpouring of admiration for Ken’s kindness.
One person tweeted:
“People like Ken never die as they’ve left an imprint on humanity that can never be erased.”
Mr Watson, from South Wales, who did his National Service at RAF Halton before going on to work as a salvage diver in the Severn Estuary, had carefully wrapped each gift for Cadi as he prepared for his own death, so that he could still give her a present until he would have been 100.
Without grandchildren himself, he looked on Cadi like a granddaughter.
Mr Williams said: “Ken was a former salvage diver, seaman, carpenter, baker …
"The first time I met him, he was bouncing a 20ft ladder across the face of his house. He was on top.
"He was 83 at the time.”
Daredevil Ken also had a keen sense of adventure. He completed a series of adrenaline-fuelled challenges such as wing-walking and skydiving, which he took up in his 80s.
He carried out many of the challenges to raise awareness of loneliness following the death of his wife Beryl in 2012.
Speaking to Barry & District News in 2016, Ken said:
“I can go for up to six days without speaking to anyone. After my wife had passed away I took a long time to settle. There’s a space around me. I still hear her voice and speak to her.”
Mr Williams and his wife were not sure what to do with all the presents.
They were torn between spacing them out each year or allowing little Cadi to open them all at once.
So he asked Twitter:
Scores of people have reacted to his act of kindness, with many saying the former RAF man embodies the true spirit of Christmas.
His heartwarming gesture from beyond the grave has brought tears to the eyes of many.
Too much internet for the day. Who’s chopping onions in here?