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Family of alleged murder victim Chris Cooling said they want funeral fund money spent on a memorial

By The Citizen  |  Posted: August 20, 2014

Chris Cooling who died following an incident in the Forest of Dean

THE family of a suspected murder victim in the Forest of Dean were not aware a fund had been launched to pay for his funeral.

Chris Cooling, 44, was found injured at his home in Berry Hill, near Coleford, but he later died at hospital on August 3.

His mourning family, who are grateful to Mr Cooling’s friends for launching an appeal, say the funds raised could be spent on a fitting memorial instead.

Gloucestershire police family liaison officer Jon Newton said: “The family is extremely grateful to Chris’ friends for setting up a fund to support his funeral and for their support at this difficult time.

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“However, they were completely unaware of this fund and have not made any request for financial support.

“They wish to stress that financing the funeral and associated costs is not an issue.

“Friends who do generously raise funds may wish to consider a memorial or similar mark of respect for him.”

Friends Sara Weaving, from Coleford, and Richard Peglar set up a gofundme.com web page and hoped to raise £15,000 so Mr Cooling’s family could give him a “good send-off.”

A note on the site says donations will now be handed to Mr Cooling’s 19-year-old son Josh to “help him now and in his future”.

Following Mr Cooling’s death, his family released this short statement: “We would like to thank our family and friends for their support at this tragic time.

“As a family we are still trying to come to terms with the loss of Christopher.

“He was a much-loved son, father and brother and will be sadly missed by us all.

“We would ask for people to respect our privacy and allow us to grieve for him at this difficult time.”

Mr Cooling, pictured, once served in the Army with the Glosters.

Former regiment comrade Roy Owen has written a poem in tribute to him.

It reads: “Not kings nor queens nor Royal Marines but 28th Old Bragg, with brass in front and brass behind never feared a foe of any kind, shoulder arms the Glorious Glosters, a fellow soldier and friend.

“RIP Chris, I salute you.”

Eddie Belson, 36, of Aston Close, Berry Hill, has been charged with Mr Cooling’s murder and will appear at Bristol Crown Court for a case management hearing on November 21.

A campaign has also been launched to raise money to support of Mr Belson’s family during his absence.

Friend Nik Elsmore said: “We are not in a position to judge what happened. We are purely here to make sure his children remain as unaffected as possible.”

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