Bereaved family locked out of Earlham Crematorium in contract collapse confusion

A family was locked out of Earlham crematorium in Norwich on the day they were paying tribute to a dead relative because of confusion caused by the collapse of city council contractors Fountains.

A family was locked out of Earlham crematorium in Norwich on the day they were paying tribute to a dead relative because of confusion caused by the collapse of city council contractors Fountains.

Tony Peach, 58, and his wife, Margaret, visited the chapel at the crematorium on Good Friday, April 6, to pay tribute to Mr Peach's mother, Jean, on the day of her birthday.

They paid for a book of remembrance at the crematorium to be opened on a page with a poem dedicated to Mrs Peach, who died in 2004 from a stroke. Clutching roses they tried the door, but a sign on it said it was locked.

Mr Peach, who works in tourism, said: 'I felt very upset and very angry. They could have moved the book to a different place.'


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The crematorium is run by Dignity, but their lease only means they operate the crematorium during the week and not on Bank Holidays such as Good Friday or weekends, and therefore were not responsible for the closure.

Stuart Cox from Dignity said: 'The council have informed us that a full investigation is under way to ascertain why the book of remembrance room was not opened on April 6 and to prevent this from happening again.'

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Mr Peach contacted ward councillor Lucy Galvin who said: 'It is clearly unacceptable to put bereaved people through this. The council should be taking responsibility.'

When Fountains went into administration the opening and closing of the chapel appears to have been overlooked.

The council has now reached an agreement with Biffa to keep the chapel open.

A council spokeswoman said: 'Norwich City Council has a full operating and maintenance agreement with Dignity. The council, however, has responsibility for arranging the locking and unlocking of the chapel outside of the crematorium opening hours and while the cemetery is open, which in effect means during weekends and bank holidays. The council has now reached an agreement with Biffa to provide this service.'

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