Monday, January 04, 2016

Digger used to force open chapel doors after body and mourners locked out of funeral

A council has apologised after a digger had to be used to prise open a chapel's doors for a funeral when an employee failed to turn up with the keys. About 70 mourners gathered at Mexborough Cemetery in Doncaster for the funeral of 92-year-old Royal Navy veteran Douglas Barratt on Wednesday, but were locked out for 40 minutes.

The digger, used for digging graves, then forced open the doors of the chapel. A Doncaster Council spokesman said they were "very sorry" for what happened. Mr Barratt's family said he died on 15 December, with members of the British Legion coming from "all over" to attend his service but were left stood in the cold and "chilled to the bone".

Arrangements had been made for someone to come an hour before the funeral to open the building and put the heating on, but no-one arrived. Mr Barratt's son-in-law said the door was "pushed and shoved" by several people but it wouldn't open. Stuart Venables, from Mexborough, said: "Eventually the decision was made to bring in a small JCB which was used for digging the grave to try and ease the door open. It didn't take long, just one push and the doors opened. A rousing cheer went up and we took Doug into the chapel."

Mr Venables said attendees thought it was "very disrespectful", but added they also thought it would be a "funeral to be remembered for years". Dave Wilkinson, from the council, said: "We are very sorry for what has happened and will be making contact with the family to apologise in person. We are looking into this and will be learning lessons so this does not happen again." A new lock has since been installed on the chapel doors. Mr Venables added: "If Doug had been stood outside, he would have been splitting his sides with laughter."

With short video.

No comments: