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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 December 2007, 17:26 GMT
Festive greetings 'from Heaven'
A man from the US state of Oregon has stunned friends and relatives by sending them Christmas cards, two months after his own death.

The 34 handwritten cards were sent and signed by Chet Fitch, who died in October aged 88, with "Heaven" given as the return address.

In a message on the cards, Mr Fitch said God had allowed him back to Earth specially to deliver the cards.

But his barber told local media they had planned the ruse together.

Patty Dean, 57, was quoted by the Ashland Daily Tidings newspaper as saying Mr Fitch had approached her with the idea in 1987, saying he wanted to play one last trick on people after his death.

She said he told her a week before his death that she would probably be able to send the cards this year.

'Little stinker'

The card showed Mr Fitch square-dancing with his wife Jessie, who herself died in 1995.

I'll probably be seeing you (some sooner than you think) - wishing you a very Merry Christmas
From Chet Fitch's last message

"I asked Big Guy if I could sneak back and send some cards," he wrote in the card.

"At first he said no; but at my insistence he finally said, 'Oh well, what the heaven, go ahead but don't [tarry] there.'

"Better get back as Big Guy said he stretched a point to let me in the first time, so I had better not press my luck," he ended the message.

"I'll probably be seeing you (some sooner than you think). Wishing you a very Merry Christmas."

Friends and relatives were both amazed and amused.

Mr Fitch's daughter, Tangren Alexander, described the card as "sweet and funny. So much like him".

"When I opened his card, all I could think was: 'You little stinker,'" said Debbie Hansen-Bernard, an old friend.



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