A grieving daughter was left devastated after funeral bosses refused to cremate her mum because she was too fat
Clare Thornhill, 33, of Harlow, Essex, was shocked after being told her 19-stone mother was too big to fit in the council-run cremators.
Yorkshire-born Jackie Marsh, 56, suffered heart complications and told her devastated family that her last wish was for her funeral to be held in her adopted home town of Harlow.
But her daughter was mortified when she was told her mother would have to be taken more than 30 miles away to a crematorium in Braintree, Essex which has ovens large enough to deal with over-sized coffins.
She said: 'Harlow Council should be ashamed of themselves - in this day and age where people are getting bigger all the time they should have suitable equipment available to accommodate them.
'It's like they're saying if you think you're going to die soon, make sure you lose a few pounds first - it's just disgraceful.
'I am absolutely mortified. My mum weighed 19 stone which I am not denying was big but there are much bigger people out there.
'It was already enough of a shock when she passed away, so for our family to now be told that we can't have her cremated where she wanted to be cremated is just devastating.'
Ms Thornhill said her mother would be horrified to know of the problems she had inadvertently caused.
She said: 'My mum has never set foot in Braintree in her life.
'She made sure that we didn't have to worry about her funeral by taking out a policy and she should be able to rest in Harlow as was her last wish.'
Harlow Council has said the Pardon Wood Crematorium is due for an overhaul to replace the cremators which were installed more than 15 years ago.
Graeme Bloomer, head of regulations at Harlow Council, said: 'We understand the family's disappointment when someone's wishes cannot be fully met.
'We are planning new investment in the facilities at Parndon Wood, including installing new cremators, and that will include looking at how we deal with outsize caskets.
'Harlow's current cremators were installed in the mid-90s and were the standard specification at that time.
'They can accommodate the vast majority of funerals, but very occasionally we get a casket size that is simply too big.
'Although cremations in outsize caskets cannot be held at Parndon Wood we are happy to talk to families about holding services and arranging for the ashes to be scattered or laid to rest here.'
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