England

Apology after Fareham funeral called off over grave mix-up

A family has been given an "unreserved apology" after their mother's burial had to be postponed less than two hours before the service.

Sarah Eatwell, from Tockenham, Wiltshire, was due to lay her mother, Shelia Bizley, to rest in the same plot as her father at Fareham, in Hampshire.

But as the family travelled to the service she was contacted and told the original grave was not deep enough.

Ms Eatwell said the situation was "very, very distressing".

The family paid for a double plot when their father, Kenelm Bizley, died 27 years ago.

Fareham Borough Council must now apply for permission to exhume his remains before they can widen the grave.

Once this takes place, the funeral will be held "at the family's convenience" and the council will pay all associated costs.

'Should not happen'

Ms Eatwell added: "It is something you just cannot imagine ever happening.

"It should not happen. Funerals are never easy but for this to happen... words can't describe it."

Council leader, Sean Woodward, said: "I would like to apologise unreservedly to the family at this very difficult time on behalf of Fareham Borough Council.

"Clearly a mistake was made over 27 years ago and the only record that remains shows that there should have been a double grave.

"We expect permission for the exhumation to be received later today and the burial will then be able to go ahead at the family's convenience."

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