• Tue. Mar 28th, 2023

Grieving sisters fined £200 for taking 48 seconds too long to say goodbye to dad

Jun 27, 2019

Grieving sisters have been fined £200 for taking 48 seconds too long to say goodbye to their beloved dad.

Following a lovely service at Grimsby Crematorium, Hayley James and Mandy Pinney wanted a few minutes alone to bid farewell to dad Terry James before closing the curtain.

Because there's was the last slot of the day no other mourners were waiting to get in.

Funeral directors Embersons guided them back into the crematorium without a hitch.

Later on the firm received an invoice for £200 from North East Lincolnshire Council, which runs the crematorium, claiming it was owed money for the extra mourning time.

Hayley told Grimsby Live: "After the main service my sister and I wanted to touch dad's coffin one last time and close the curtain.

"Staff at the crematorium watched us. We were taken to the coffin by the funeral director and they watched us the whole time.

"I could understand it if we were five or 10 minutes over our time. But just by seconds is petty and disrespectful.

"If they are going to time people and impose fines for going over by just a few seconds, how do they know whose watch is right?"

"To be fined for going over just a few seconds just seems so petty and callous."

The council has form when it comes to fining families for grieving for too long.

Six families have been charged extra for running over by less than two minutes, with 20 fines issued over a 21 month period raking in £4,000.

"I know they are a business and they need to organise times for everyone using the crematorium every day," Hayley, of Cleethorpes, said.

"But for us this is the only time in our lives we have to do it.

"We wanted to spend just a few last moments with our dad because the funeral service was so full. So we went back very briefly at the end."

The chapel had been full of mourners bidding goodbye to Terry, who was a well known big band musician and French polisher.

He died at 87 earlier this month.

"The chapel was extremely full of mourners and we had a lovely service and everything went very smoothly," Hayley continued.

"We all managed to vacate the premises with time to spare and in a lovely gesture of kindness our funeral director Bryan, from Embersons Funeral Directors took us both back inside the chapel to say a final farewell to our father.

"We checked with a member of staff who was watching our every move, to ascertain whether we had enough time to do this. He said we had a couple of minutes.

"Obviously we were distressed and would have cherished a little more time. But we hurriedly left the chapel."

Hayley thinks the people that run the crematorium should be more mindful of mourners' wishes.

She added: "In our view the management team of  Grimsby  Crematorium need to show a little more discretion at such sad times.

"The amount of the fine is insignificant. But the lack of compassion and understanding leaves much to be desired."

A spokesman for the council said the complaint would be looked into.

“As the policy stands, a charge is imposed on the funeral director if a service at the Crematorium over-runs," he added.

“Funeral directors manage the proceedings and it is at their discretion whether or not to pass this charge to their client.

“They have the option to book additional time and the majority of funeral directors use that option when planning a service.

“The charge is currently £200 – the same as it costs to book additional time in the chapel.

“We work with funeral directors to help them plan ahead and reserve extra chapel time if it is needed.”

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