Pain of family over cemetery mistake

Mick Clarke, 63
Mick Clarke, 63

A grieving widow who had to look on as groundsmen dug out her husband’s grave after a cemetery mix-up has told the Advertiser of her heartbreak.

Debbie Clarke and her family were at Park Cemetery in Ilkeston to inter Mick Clarke’s ashes.

When they arrived the wrong plot had been prepared and when a family member informed the groundsmen they asked them to wait in the pouring rain as they dug out the correct grave.

Mrs Clarke told the Advertiser that her distress was made worse for she claimed the men laughed and joked as they worked.

She said: “It was not the dignified end we wanted for Mick.

“He used to work in that cemetery himself and never would he have treated anyone with what I feel was such disrespect.

“The council should be ashamed of those men and they should have some sort of training on how to deal with bereaved relatives.”

Mr Clarke, 63, died of a brain tumour in September. His family held his funeral on October 7 and went to the plot they had picked for his ashes to be buried at Park Cemetery on October 21.

Mrs Clarke said: “At an already difficult and heartbreaking time this shouldn’t have happened to us.

“The whole family were disgusted at the whole situation.

“Mick deserved so much more.

“I can’t move on from this because I know what Mick wanted and I couldn’t give it to him.

“It was my responsibility to give him the send off he deserved and that didn’t happen.

“I feel as though I’ve let him and his children down.”

Mrs Clarke was so disgusted by the way she and her family were treated she wrote a letter of complaint to Erewash Borough Council.

She said: “I sent the letter off in the couple of days after what happened and I’ve heard nothing back from them, no apology, not even acknowledgement of receipt.

“This is no way for anyone to be treated, let alone a grieving family.

“I didn’t want it to get to the point where I went to the papers but I’ve given the council enough opportunity to apologise but they haven’t said a word.”

Instead of an apology or a response Mrs Clarke has received two invoices from the authority, both stating she owes different amounts.

Mrs Clarke, of Holmewood Avenue, Cotmanhay, said: “I will not pay until I have an apology. The apology Mick and his family deserve.

“It’s not about the money, I’m not out for a discount or publicity I just want them to acknowledge the hurt they have caused and most importantly make sure that this will never happen again.

“No family should have to go through what we’re going through.

“I should be grieving but this is on my mind night and day, I can’t get past what happened.”

A spokesperson for Erewash Borough Council said: “We have not received a letter of complaint but understand the situation.

“The council will be happy to look into this matter whatever way we can.

“We offer our sympathies to the family at what is an already difficult time.”