Council apologises for not allowing mourners to comfort each other at a funeral in Milton Keynes

A son ordered to move away from his mum when he tried to hug her at his dad's funeral has received an apology from the council.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

A video published by the Citizen shows an official at Crownhill Crematorium intervening sharply when the man moved his socially-distanced chair to be next to his weeping mum.

The pair, who have been in the same support bubble for weeks, were reprimanded and told to move their chairs back.

A video of the funeral, complete with the intervention, caused an outcry from sympathetic members of the public.

This is how the mourners had to sit - even though some of them were in the same support bubbleThis is how the mourners had to sit - even though some of them were in the same support bubble
This is how the mourners had to sit - even though some of them were in the same support bubble

This afternoon a spokesman for MK Council, which is in charge of the crematorium, told the Citizen: "We are sorry to have upset this family. We don’t usually step in if a guest needs to be comforted by another family member and in this instance should have taken a more considered approach. "

The spokesman added: "We ask funeral directors to let us know whether any chairs should be grouped in advance, and from now on this includes guests who are in the same household or bubbles as well as people who need extra support. We hope this provides additional comfort at a difficult time."

The son had not left his mum's side for two weeks before the funeral and was devastated he was not allowed to sit with her.

He said: “We are absolutely heartbroken...I can sit in a restaurant, I can sit in a pub, I can live at her house, I can travel in a limousine to the crematorium with six (people).

"But when I want to give my mum a cuddle at dad's funeral, a man flies out mid service shouting stop the service and makes us split.

"It scared my daughter and shocked everyone in the room. This is not how funerals should be and with the guidelines in place for pubs, bars, public transport etc, how this can carry on at funerals is beyond belief. It was a devastating day made even worse.”

Local Conservative group leader, Councillor Alex Walker, shared the video on social media and is now raising the issue with MK Council, which is responsible for Crownhill Crematorium.

He said: "It's a horrible sign of the times where common sense has seemingly disappeared. These people were in a bubble together, to support each other through the death of a loved one."

Cllr Walker added: "I'll be asking for a review of how MK Council is holding weddings and funerals. It's essential we keep people safe and it's essential we follow the rules, but it's equally important we try and live with the virus.

"It's been with us for six months, we are getting better at living with it. I'm confident Mk Council can hold funerals and weddings in a better, more compassionate way while sticking to the rules designed to keep us safe."

Members of the public were furious when they watched the video and flooded social media with comments.

One said: "This is common sense gone completely crazy."

Cllr Walker said he had recently attended a funeral at neighbouring Northampton Crematorium where mourners who were in the same support bubble had been allowed to sit together.