Relatives of a Bradford great-grandmother who lost her battle with cancer last month have hit out at a funeral director after a mix-up about where her ashes were being kept.
W Levers, of Thornton Road, Bradford has admitted an “oversight” in the collection of Maureen McGuinness’s ashes from Scholemoor Crematorium.
Relatives of the 72-year-old mother-of-seven, who died in Bradford’s Marie Curie Hospice, say they were unsure of the whereabouts of the ashes for several days following her cremation on Friday, September 23.
Mrs McGuinness’s granddaughter Sarah Jacques, who lived next door to her in Raven Terrace, Lower Grange, contacted W Levers ten days after the service to see if she could collect them.
After being told the ashes were still at the crematorium she waited two days before enquiring again, and, after being given the same response, called Scholemoor herself to find out where they were.
She was told the ashes had been picked up almost a week earlier by a representative from W Levers, prompting her to believe they may have been lost.
However, George Lever, the company’s owner, said the ashes had not been booked in and so office staff had unwittingly believed them still to be at the crematorium.
He said: “As soon as we discovered the ashes were here we tried to ring the phone number we had.
“No-one picked up and there was no answer phone to leave a message. I have spoken to Scholemoor and expressed our concerns that they spoke to the family instead of referring them to us.
“It was just an oversight, they hadn’t been booked in.”
Miss Jacques and two of her aunts Andrea Virr and Linda McGuinness said they were appalled by the incident.
Miss Jacques said: “I feel sick to my stomach. I can’t believe it.”
Her uncle Martyn Virr said he was unhappy at the way staff members had spoken to the family.
He said: “The way they spoke to us was disgusting. We are still in mourning, we didn’t need to be treated like that.”
But Mr Lever said: “I apologised that they (the ashes) hadn’t been entered into the book. I was upset that they checked with Scholemoor after I said I would make sure they were recovered.”