Huntingdon woman wasn’t buried during nightmare funeral

A GRIEVING Huntingdon family have told how they couldn’t bury their mother at her funeral – because the grave was too small.

They say it was the final traumatic blunder in a catalogue of errors leading up to the funeral of 62-year-old Maureen Shelton earlier this year.

The Shelton family have complained to the Huntingdon branch of Anglia Co-operative Funerals about the service they received and they have reported them to Trading Standards. They have also instructed a legal team to help them resolve their issues.

Mrs Shelton’s daughter, Katrina Shelton, 37, of Beaton Close has told The Hunts Post how the undertakers:

• Left her mother’s body at Hinchingbrooke Hospital for a week before bringing her to the funeral home

• Broke a handle off her coffin

• Used a faulty CD player at the funeral service which left mourners listening to a “high-pitched whine”

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• Tried to force her mother’s coffin into the grave, which was too small, causing the lid to loosen

Miss Shelton said: “They shouldn’t get away with it. I just want something done. It’s breaking my heart knowing that we didn’t give her a good send off. I’m having counselling – I keep having nightmares that my mum falls out of the coffin and is lying on the ground. We don’t how she is resting in her coffin. We had to drive away with her above ground. The minister was disgusted.”

She added: “I am so angry. They can never bring that day back. I want justice. She can’t stand up for herself now so I am going to do it for her. I want her to be laid at rest. It took a long time for it to sink in that she was in that grave – how could we be sure? We didn’t see her buried.

“I had to come to The Hunts Post because I want to see justice done.”

Mrs Shelton died in Hinchingbrooke Hospital on March 10 after suffering from heart and kidney failure. She had lived in Kent Road with her husband, Alan, 68.

Anglia Co-operative Funerals group manager, Mark Adams, said: “We immediately conveyed our deepest apologies to Katrina Shelton and her family that our service did not meet the usual high standards our clients deserve.

“I would reiterate that we apologise unreservedly for what happened and our procedures have been tightened up with regards to the communication of information to our graveside contractors.

“We had extended dialogue with Katrina and her family, resulting in our offering to waive our professional fees associated with the service and those of our contractor.

“Our offer did not meet the family’s expectations and so we gave them information about independent arbitration via the National Association of Funeral Directors to bring the matter to a conclusion.

“As we have had no contact with the family since April, the matter was put on hold until it has been resolved. However, in the meantime, owing to an administration error it was sent on to our credit control representatives, for which we apologise.

“We would still welcome contact with the family to bring matters to a conclusion.”