The widow and children of Leicester snooker legend Willie Thorne are locked in a dispute over his ashes and favourite cue.
His second wife Jill Thorne, 60, a former Miss Great Britain, wants to auction the cue for Willie’s favourite cancer charity.
But his children from his first marriage, twins Tristan and Kieran, 35, and daughter Tahli, 32, want it to “remain in the family”, reports the Mirror.
Jill said that after Willie, originally from Anstey, died in June in Spain at the age of 66, she wanted to hold a memorial in the UK then scatter his ashes.
But his children brought home his ashes after the funeral close to Torrevieja, near his home on the Costa Blanca.
Jill split from Willie last year after returning to England with a severe chest infection and was unable to attend his funeral.
The mum said: “It was hurtful that we had no ashes.
Willie Thorne funeral: Final farewell with snooker table flowers and Chas n Dave anthem Willie Thorne was laid to rest in Spain on Wednesday after dying aged 66 last week following a battle with leukaemia. The coffin leaves the memorial service (Image: Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)
(Image: Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)
“We don’t know if they have been scattered, buried or what, which is quite sad.”
She added: “I was next of kin. When he became very ill, he passed away very quickly.
“We would speak every day on the phone, he said he wanted me to have the cue.
“He wanted his son to deal with his financial affairs only after his death, as he didn’t want me to cope with his debts any more. He wanted me fully involved with everything else and I agreed.
“We loved each other unconditionally to the end.”
She believes his ashes might have been scattered in Norfolk.
Her plan is to auction the cue for the charity 20-20 Voice Cancer. Willie became its patron following the death of his brother Malcolm to throat cancer.
Jill, of Stoke Golding, Leics, said: “His children said they wanted the cue back which I understand, but he had bequeathed it to me.”
She said Willie would be “mortified” if he knew about the dispute over the cue, adding: “He would love it being sold off for charity.”
Willie, who lost around £3.5million during his career because of his addiction to gambling, died from sepsis after being diagnosed with leukaemia in March.
Fans raised £20,000 to help pay for his care after he was declared bankrupt four years ago.
Speech and language therapist Jill, who won Miss Great Britain in 1985, met Willie when she worked in the players’ lounge at the World Snooker Championships in Sheffield in 1992.
She said of Willie: “He had a heart of gold, there was a great side to him. But it was gambling he could never beat.”
Willie’s first wife, Fiona, said: “There is some controversy as we wanted the cue to remain in the family.
“Willie was emphatic he wanted Tristan and not Jill to look after his affairs when he died, and there are several witnesses to that.
“He was not very keen for Jill to have any involvement. My family would not be supportive of Jill selling the cue and will not be stating anything to that effect.
“They were not Willie’s last wishes.”
Tahli declined to comment when approached by the Mirror.