I’m still alive - despite what my Wikipedia page says, says former MP
- Credit: Archant
Colchester stalwart Sir Bob Russell was informed of his passing after his Wikipedia page was edited - informing people that he died.
But the former Colchester MP for 18 years is very much alive, despite someone who he believes had a “warped mind” editing the online encyclopaedia page about him to say otherwise.
The news of the Liberal Democrat’s supposed death on January 22 was news even to Sir Bob himself, who said that he turned to his wife and told her: “I’m sorry to inform you that you’ve just become a widow.”
The first he found out about it was when a colleague called to pass on their condolences to his family - only to be surprised to hear Sir Bob himself on the phone, right as rain.
“This is obviously the work of someone with a warped mind,” he said.
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“In my political life there was the rough and tumble of unpleasantness. That’s part of being a politician and I suspect it was carried out by people with a political agenda.
“This is clearly people who are being petty or angry or sad, but I cannot see why someone would want to do this.”
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Wikipedia is entirely user-generated and can be edited by anybody anywhere.
Changes can be undone by other users and moderators do monitor pages - but the sheer scale of the website means that these changes often go unchecked.
Sir Bob says it did not faze him.
However he said: “This could be very upsetting if the person they did this to was someone who was troubled or other issues in their lives.
“I was called by a colleague who had been told by their family member that I had died and they wanted to pass on their condolences.
“My wife and I immediately contacted our three children when we found out just in case they were stopped and commiserated about something which was not true.
“It had been up there for two days in the end - I just didn’t want to see it appear in the paper before we put a stop to it.
“I’m 72 now so it’s not beyond the realms of possibility.
“Sadly I’m of an age when I do see people I know in the obituaries now.”