Grieving Morecambe family told they've been visiting wrong crematorium plot for 35 years

A grieving family has been told they cannot place their mum's ashes with her late husband because crematorium bosses are unable to find the right plot.

Thursday, 21st October 2021, 12:30 pm
Lancaster & Morecambe Crematorium.

The family was shocked to discover they had been visiting the wrong plot at Lancaster & Morecambe Crematorium for the last 35 years.

And their mum's wish to be placed with her husband, who passed away in 1986, cannot now be realised as crematorium managers have admitted they don't know where his ashes are.

Their dad died in 1986 at the age of 57, and at the time his wife bought a double plot so that her ashes could join his in the future.

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But after she passed away on September 20 aged 86, her children were told to their horror that the plot they had been told was their father's in fact contained someone else's ashes.

The family has asked to remain anonymous, but want to share what they feel is an important issue.

One daughter said they are now "at a loss" to know what to do with their mum's ashes.

"My dad died in 1986 so my mum paid for a double plot on the glade at the crem," she said.

"We have visited my dad and put flowers down at the plot for the last 35 years.

"After my mum passed away we had the cremation and booked in to put her ashes on top of my dad's and they said they can't locate him.

"They have been so blase about it, there has been no empathy, their attitude has been awful.

"There has been no apology - they are saying the ashes are not lost, they just can't locate them, but what's the difference?

"They have basically said there's nothing more they can do. I am appalled by it and I feel sick. I just want someone to take some responsibility.

"I have collected mum's ashes now but I don't know what to do with them. She always wanted to be put in with dad and that's what she always thought would happen.

"I don't know where we go from here. I don't want to scatter mum's ashes because it's not what she ever wanted, I am just at a loss."

The crematorium, in Powder House Lane, is operated by The Crematorium and Memorial Group, which is part of Dignity plc and operates 46 crematoria and 24 cemeteries across the UK.

However, in 1986 it was run by Lancaster City Council.

Steve Gant, crematorium director of The Crematorium and Memorial Group, said: “We pride ourselves on the high standards of care we offer families and sincerely regret that, on this occasion, [the family] feels we have not met [their] expectations.

"We did not own the crematorium in 1986 so cannot comment on operational practices at the time of [their] father’s death. However, we have tried to help [them] as records show the family chose to have the ashes interred without a container on a hillside within the grounds.

"We have provided [the family] with a written explanation detailing how we tried to locate [their] father’s ashes without disturbing the resting place of others.

"Unfortunately, even with the use of the latest technical equipment, it hasn’t been possible to achieve this. We have advised that this may be due to land slippage over the last 35 years as the plot is on a very steep hill.

"After such a long period of time it may not be possible to provide the ideal solution that [the family] wants, but we would like to continue talking with [them] to find an alternative way to pay tribute to both parents.”

A Lancaster City Council spokesman said: "It is with regret that we are unable to help locate the interment site of the ashes of [the family's] father at such a sad time for the family.

"All records remained at Lancaster and Morecambe Crematorium when it became the property of Dignity."