No family should have to endure this grave farce

A Guildhall vigil for victims of the Manchester bombing. Picture: Keith Woodland

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Dealing with a death in the family is hard enough at the best of times, but what Sarah Eatwell has had to cope with is beyond belief.

Not only has she had to come to terms with the death of her mother, Sheila Bizley, but the family and other mourners then turned up at the funeral only to discover, with just 90 minutes to go, there could be no burial.

Why? Because the plot in which Sheila should have been buried, alongside her husband Kenelm, was not deep enough for them both.

Now Sarah and the family have to endure the ignominy of having Kenelm’s coffin exhumed so the grave can be re-dug to make it big enough.

So, on top of all the grief and emotion at such a time, Sarah then had to tell all the mourners at the church the burial at Fareham Cemetery, Wickham Road, was off.

The funeral went ahead but Mrs Bizley’s coffin, instead of being lowered into its final resting place, was returned to the funeral home.

Some might believe Fareham Borough Council has an excuse. It does not.

And to be fair to the authority, at least Tory council leader Sean Woodward has had the decency to make an unreserved apology for this gross error.

Yes, Kenelm Bizley died 27 years ago and the council might have argued that records had been ‘lost’ in the mists of time.

But that is not the case for, as Councillor Woodward admits, the only record that remains clearly shows a double grave should have been dug.

By now the couple, who were well-known newsagents in the Fareham area, should be at peace alongside each other.

Instead they wait for Kenelm’s coffin to be exhumed and the grave re-dug. We hope this was an isolated incident and that no other family will be put through this agony.

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