A GRIEVING family was banned from commemorating their dead mother on her late husband’s tombstone at Canley Crematorium – because of a grave records mix-up by council officials.
Labour leaders at Coventry City Council launched an investigation after council staff warned other families could suffer from the same mistakes due to staffing problems.
A brother and sister in their 50s were told they could not engrave their mother’s name or loving words on their father’s headstone after she passed away earlier this year.
They were shocked and distressed to be told by council officials their family’s grave plot at Canley Crematorium was recorded as belonging to another person of the same surname.
Only after months of investigation following their mother’s cremation did the council’s bereavement services department admit an error in its search of graveyard records.
Disturbingly, a council official, in apologising for the error, said the same mistake could not be ruled out in future because of staffing problems.
Labour council leaders triggered an investigation yesterday after being contacted by the Telegraph.
Councillor Lindsley Harvard, city services cabinet member, sought to reassure other Coventry families everything possible would be done to prevent it happening again.
The mix-up was resolved after an investigation by Coun Bally Singh (Lab, Whoberley) on behalf of the bereaved family who live in his ward.
He said: “It caused grief and heartbreak for both families, including the other family who had been wrongly identified as owning the grave plot.
“I tracked them down to an address in Rugby using Land Registry records, as the council was not able to help me because of data protection issues.
“When I informed the council of my investigations, they quickly searched their records and acknowledged an error had been made.
“It was blamed on an inexperienced member of staff who was covering for illness. Worryingly, I’ve been told that this type of error could happen again because of the continued absence levels.
“I have requested that all members of staff receive adequate training to prevent this happening again.
“The family do not want other families to suffer what they had to go through.”
An email sent on December 12 from the bereavement department to Coun Singh, seen by the Telegraph, states the covering staff temp had not asked for more information from the family’s stonemason who had applied for a permit, which would have helped to correctly identify the plot’s owner.
It continues: “My worry is that due to the continued extended absence we are currently experiencing this type of error may occur again.”
Coun Singh said it had turned out two grave plots at Canley Crematorium belonged to families with the same surname.
Coun Harvard said the member of staff had not checked the pre-1994 paper records, which in this case had not been stored on the computer system.
He said: “I’ve asked staff to automatically cross-check paper and computer records when there are discrepancies. Measures have been put in place to ensure similar problems cannot occur again.”
He denied low staffing or inadquate staff training was the cause, saying it was an “administrative” error.
Isle of Wight Council has announced a project that will improve services at the Isle of Wight Crematorium. Due to required new environmental regulations relating to mercury emissions from cremations, the council has been looking at replacing the cremators at the facility.
From December 31 2012, new government guidelines require at least a 50 percent abatement of emmissions from cremations or crematorium operators face possible fines.
Bollywood fans, reporters, friends and family of Bollywood legend Dev Anand attended his funeral in Putney Vale Crematorium over the weekend.
Earlier last week, Anand’s family and friends spoke to reporters in London at a press conference where they announced the place and time of the funeral.
A plan to stream funeral services in Stafford on the internet has been backed by the manager of one of the first crematoriums in the UK to go online.
The proposal will see the Stafford Crematorium site at Tixall Road, which is run by Stafford Borough Council, installing webcams.
Craigton Crematorium in Glasgow was one of the first in the country to employ the service – and manager Harry Tosh told StaffsLive the initiative had been popular.
POLICE have released this photo of a man they would like to identify following vandalism at Yeovil Crematorium.
At around 12.30pm on Monday, November 28, a service was being held at the crematorium and the man pictured was at the service.
At around this time damage was caused in the disabled toilet.
A sink was blocked and the tap left running causing a flood and the incident caused considerable damage.
The new bosses of Shrewsbury’s Emstrey Crematorium today denied they had any plans to remove two large symbolic Christian crosses under multi-million pound plans to overhaul the site.
Co-operative Funeralcare, which recently took over the running of the Emstrey site from Shropshire Council on a 30-year lease, wants to pump an initial £1.7 million into the restoration of the crematorium.
A SPECIAL celebration of life service is to be held next month by a dedicated band of volunteers.
The Friends of St Helens Cemetery and Crematorium group is arranging for the ceremony on Saturday, December 10, at 11am, in the crematorium chapel off Rainford Road.
Townspeople will be able to remember loved ones this Christmas at the dedication service followed by a remembrance ceremony.
SUPER-sized ovens will be installed at Pleasington Crem-atorium to cope with the growing number of overweight bodies in a £1million project.
Town hall officers said the action was being taken after crematorium staff reported an increase in coffins too large and heavy to fit inside the existing burners.
The new development will incorporate technology to reduce the amount of deadly mercury pumped out into the atmosphere when teeth fillings are incinerated.
FOLLOWING a spate of metal thefts from a cemetery, Bromley police are taking steps to try and stop it happening again.
Around 80 bronze memorial plaques were stolen from Beckenham Crematorium and Cemetery in September, as reported by News Shopper.
Now the Clock House Safer Neighbourhood Team [SNT] have ensured every plaque in the cemetery is marked with a special liquid known as SmartWater.
COUNCIL chiefs in Kirklees will meet this week to decide whether to invest £1.7m in improving and refurbishing crematoria in the district.
A proposal drawn up for a contemporary stone and glass building to replace Dewsbury Crematorium has been postponed but council chiefs are proposing that improvement works are carried out at the site.
They are also proposing a series of works at other cemeteries and crematoria including Huddersfield, Lockwood and Batley.