Louth woman wins battle to have father's ashes re-buried after council blunder

A daughter has won a battle to have her father laid to rest next to her mother in Louth's London Road Cemetery after his ashes were accidentally buried in the grave of another woman.

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Louth Town Council, who run the cemetery, have been slammed by a leading churchman for the mistake in which the ashes of the late Frank Wells were buried in the wrong grave.

The ashes of Mr Wells were buried on 21 April 2015 and should have gone into the grave of his late wife who was buried in 1991.

However, a friend of Mr Wells visited the cemetery and raised the alarm that things were not right.

He spotted that the memorial to Mr Wells was over the grave of a Mrs Turner which was adjacent to that of Mrs Wells.

Now Mark Bishop, Chancellor of the Diocese of Lincoln, in his role as a judge of the Church of England’s Consistory Court, has over-ridden normal church policy and granted a request by Mr and Mrs Wells’ daughter for the ashes to be exhumed and re-buried in the grave of her mother.

Consent for exhumation by the Consistory Court, which has to approve such matters, is rare as church philosophy is that a last resting place should be just that.

However, in this case, Chancellor Bishop has given the go-ahead on the basis that there are exceptional circumstances.

He said there had ‘been a mistake’ which had been quickly acted upon.

At the same time, he rounded on Louth Town Council and demanded an explanation as to how the blunder could have happened.

He said it was ‘of great concern’ that such an administrative error could be made in a well-regulated cemetery.

He added: “I would expect that record keeping would be such that an error of this kind could not be made.

“I note that there has been no explanation as to how this error was made nor what steps have been put in place to ensure that such an error could not be repeated.

“This is something that I would expect the Louth Town Council to investigate.

“Those using the services of this cemetery are entitled to be able to rely upon good record keeping and careful decisions about interments.”

“I remain concerned that such situation as this has arisen.

“I therefore request the Town Clerk to write explain how the error occurred and what steps have been taken to ensure that such a mistake could not happen again.”

• No-one from Louth Town Council was available for comment at time of publication.