A row which broke out over flowers for a funeral after a grieving family complained the flower dog they bought arrived with five legs appears to have reached an amicable conclusion after a donation was given to charity. Magaret Seaman, 76, of Shoebury, Essex, had known 91-year-old Peggy Hartman for 50 years until she passed away on January 20. Her funeral took place on Monday and Mrs Seaman clubbed together with her family to buy a £60 flower arrangement in the shape of a Jack Russell, for dog-loving Peggy. However, when the flowers arrived at St Mary The Virgin Church, in North Shoebury Road, pall bearers were said to be laughing at the arrangement, which looked to have five legs and an unusual nose. Mrs Seaman said: “It was very upsetting and embarrassing.
“My daughter was waving for me to go over because the pall bearer started laughing at the flowers.
One of them said ‘we’ve been trying to work out what sort of dog it is, I’ve never seen one with five legs before’.
We have laughed about it all since the funeral but on the day it was upsetting.
My son went in to ask for a refund, not for the materials but for the labour, and they said no – we wanted to give the money to Battersea Dogs Home as Peggy had asked for either flowers or donations to the home.
I wish we’d just given the home the money now.”
The florist, from Harlequin Flowers, in Shoebury, defended her work, providing photographic evidence of how the dog looked when it was being delivered to the funeral directors.
She said: “It has been tampered with.
I am a very highly trained professional and there is no way in this world I would let something out of my shop looking like that.
I took a photo of the dog, as I do with all our arrangements, as it was on the way to the funeral directors over the road and you can see how it looked – it didn’t have five legs.”
The business later relented and agreed to donate the £60 refund to Battersea Dogs Home.
A spokesman for Harlequin Flowers said: “Our team work hard to delight all our customers.
Where we get it wrong, we have a clear procedure to resolve the matter and we will work with our customers to put things right. Unfortunately, we haven’t had the opportunity in this case.
We’ve thoroughly investigated the issue with the team locally.
“However, ultimately our customer is dissatisfied and therefore, as a gesture of goodwill and in line with their wishes, we have donated the full cost of the arrangement to Battersea Dogs Home. We would ask any customer that believes that we have failed to live up to the high standards they expect of us to contact us directly.”
When informed of the decision, Mrs Seaman said: “It is fantastic, Peggy loved dogs.
I had thought about just leaving it after the funeral but I am glad we didn’t and the money has gone to the right place.”
Funeral directors S Stibbards and Sons, also of Shoebury, transported the flowers to the church.
Director Martin Stibbards said: “It appears as though the flowers have split apart, creating the illusion that the dog had five legs.
Unfortunately, at times, these things do happen but nobody is to blame and having spoken to all my gentlemen they have assured me that any comments made were not by our staff.
Additionally, every care was taken with the tribute, as is taken with all floral tributes entrusted into our care.”