Wrong coffin delivered for Leigh Park man’s funeral

Peter Haines died last month
Peter Haines died last month
James Taylor at his desk in his office at 116 High Street, Old Portsmouth.

Those halcyon days when pen and paper just worked!

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A COMPANY has been criticised for the way it handled a funeral request – which included a wrong coffin being ordered.

Myra Hutchings was left to organise the funeral of her best friend Peter Haines, 58, when he died following a short illness last month.

They were extortionate

Myra Hutchings

With no family it meant Ms Hutchings, who has little funds, had to foot the bill herself.

She claims she explained to The Southern Co-operative Funeralcare, in Dunsbury Way, Leigh Park, that it needed to be the cheapest funeral possible.

Ms Hutchings says she was also advised to hold the cremation at The Oaks in Havant, which is almost £200 more expensive than Portchester. But, having switched to another funeral directors because she was unhappy with the services, she says she got the same funeral for almost £1,500 cheaper.

Before that, Ms Hutchings was then left fuming when she ordered a dark wooden coffin through the Co-op only for a light one to be sent.

The Co-op denied the claims Ms Hutchings asked for the cheapest funeral possible and says it was merely offering her all the alternatives when quoting prices.

It added that the fault of the wrong coffin being ordered was down to a supplier.

She said: ‘When you ask for something you expect to get it. After everything that happened I would never recommend them.

‘When we went to Moores in Hambledon Road they explained we could have the same funeral for £2,600.

‘At Moores we were offered a payment plan and a real personal touch. The manager Leslie Wigman called us every day and we had the personal touch we did not get with the Co-op.

Co-op operations director Pauline Lympany said: ‘The Southern Co-operative Funeralcare prides itself in arranging funerals with the utmost professionalism and the highest standards of care for the deceased and their grieving family.

‘Our costs reflect this and represent the investment we place on training our colleagues to deliver a quality service and the infrastructure required to carry out our work at what is a highly emotive time for all involved.

‘We regularly review our costs and believe they remain competitive and in line with industry practise.

‘Our colleagues are trained to offer all available options as part of the funeral consultation, including the various establishments that conduct cremations.

‘Locally this would be Portchester, The Oaks and Chichester crematoriums.

‘Choices are often made based on factors other than cost, such as location and availability.

‘Ms Hutchings chose originally to use The Oaks due to location, and subsequently decided Portchester would be a better option for her financially. Had she continued to use our services we would have happily accommodated this request.’