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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Body in wrong grave after Cumbria funeral blunder

Copeland council officials admitted today that a body was lowered into the wrong grave during a burial at Whitehaven Cemetery.

Relatives of the person who died were present when the embarrassing mistake was made but officials realised what had happened before the grave was covered over.

Officials did not have to apply for an exhumation order from the Ministry of Justice because a full burial did not take place. But the council has carried out its own investigation.

When asked about the incident yesterday, a Copeland Council spokesman confirmed that a burial plot had been dug in the wrong place.

Chief executive Paul Walker added: “The mistake was discovered during the service and the coffin was moved immediately and interred in the correct burial plot later the same day.

“The family, who were present at the funeral, were aware of the situation and we apologised to them for the distress caused.”

The News & Star understands that following the council’s internal inquiry, disciplinary action was taken against a member of the cemetery staff but did not result in dismissal.

A number of funeral directors in the town today said they knew nothing of the mistake at the cemetery, though some did say that they felt staff there did a remarkably good job and they are unaware of such a mistake being made before.

John Yeowart, a partner with Yeowart Funeral Services in the town, said: “We have no problem with the cemetery. They do a very good job up there. We’ve never experienced anything like this before.”

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