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Byline: by GAIL EDGAR

STAFF at a magazine for retired civil servants had a shock last week when they opened a letter penned from beyond the grave.

The circulation manager of Avanti - a magazine produced for the Civil Service Retirement Fellowship (CSRF) - was politely asked to stop sending copies of the publication to a ghost.

The letter, printed in a ghoulish font resembling dripping blood, began: "This is the ghost of Nora Lapping. I have been dead since March 8, 2003.

"My children have previously returned your magazine with 'deceased' written on it. You are not taking any heed of them as they have just received another copy of Avanti." And the disgruntled ghost left the reader with no doubt of its future intentions, signing off with: "Get your act together or I will come and HAUNT YOU."

But CSRF staff won't have to call the Ghostbusters, because the letter writer is Nora's son Simon Lapping.

And in case the note from the Other Side might have freaked out whoever received it, he included this explanation: "I really don't mind getting the magazine, but I am sure that other families may find it distressing. So I thought I would send you this gentle and, I hope, humorous reminder to keep your records up to date."

Belfast man Simon told The People: "My father James was a civil servant and worked in what was the Water Office. When he died my mother was still getting superannuation from them so her name was on the list."

But when his mother died almost three years ago, Avanti magazine just wouldn't give up the ghost.

Simon added: "When my mother died and the next copy of the magazine arrived I wrote 'deceased' on it and returned it to them, but maybe it didn't get there."

So when the Winter 2005 edition arrived, he wrote the letter, hoping it would give the magazine a laugh as well as get the message across.

CSRF general secretary Jean Cooper said: "Our records have now been duly amended and we apologise most sincerely for any distress caused."

She added that anyone wanting to cancel deliveries of the magazine or CSRF beneficiaries who wish to receive it can email

Dear Sir, This is the ghost of Nora Lapping writing to you.

I have been dead since March 8, 2003... Get your act together or I will come and HAUNT YOU.

Thanks Nora Lapping (deceased)


SOW: Simon Lapping' NOTE: Simon wrote a letter from his late mum
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Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Jan 15, 2006
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