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Funeral firm offers to lay young Gorleston mother’s ashes to rest

PUBLISHED: 12:03 10 September 2012

Michael and Janice Secker with their daughter's ashes and a memorial in their garden.

Clare Secker of Gorleston fell ill during Christmas 2008 with flu-like symptoms.

Michael and Janice Secker with their daughter's ashes and a memorial in their garden. Clare Secker of Gorleston fell ill during Christmas 2008 with flu-like symptoms.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2012

A funeral director has offered to lay the ashes of a young mother to rest after reading in the EDP about her family’s legal battle with health organisations.

The ashes of Clare Secker, who died from bronchial pneumonia aged 19, are still at her parents’ home more than three years after her death.

Clare’s parents, Michael and Janice Secker, said they could not afford the £1,200 to inter the ashes while a legal wrangle continues over who should pay compensation to the family for the failure to diagnose Clare with the fatal illness.

But while that struggle continues for the Gorleston family, the East of England Co-operative funeral service has said they will bury Clare’s ashes for free.

Sean McLoughlin, area manager for Suffolk, said: “It is fundamentally wrong that the ashes should still be there. We will make whatever arrangements we need to suit the family’s wishes. It is wrong having it tied up like this in this knot and we have to do something about it.

“We can do something about it now. We can sit down with the family within days and arrange for the ashes to be interred and at last they would have some peace of mind.”

The Unitarian Church in Greyfriars Way, Great Yarmouth, has also offered to help by keeping the ashes in their church until a solution is found.

Michael Secker said last night: “We are very grateful for both offers.

“It is so kind of them to do that and such a difference to see people helping when the people who caused the problem do not want to help.”

As reported in Friday’s EDP, a nurse working for a privately run out-of-hours GP service called Take Care Now, advised Clare’s mother, Janice, over the phone to give her daughter painkillers when she fell ill in Christmas 2008.

The 19-year-old died on December 29 from broncho-pneumonia which could have been cured by a GP with antibiotics.

Her son, Tyler, who started school on Thursday, is now looked after by his grandparents at their home in Somerville Avenue, Gorleston.

The nurse who gave the advice has admitted responsibility through her lawyers but they will only accept responsibility to compensate the family if the private contactor, Take Care Now, which has since been taken over by Harmoni, will reimburse the nurse for the damages.

Harmoni refuse to do so, claiming its insurance excludes responsibility for negligence by nurses.

The Great Yarmouth and Waveney primary care trust (PCT), which handed out the contract, said it is the company’s responsibility.

tom.bristow@archant.co.uk

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