19-05-2011 Manchester Evening News
Family anger over 17-day wait for mum's funeral
A grieving family must wait 17 days to hold their mum’s funeral – because of a faulty machine at Macclesfield crematorium.
Some distraught relatives are having to wait even longer if they want an afternoon service or face having to go to other sites because of the decommissioning of a cremator.
Janet Andrew lost her mum, Winifred Pope, who died aged 83 on Saturday, May 7.
They were told of the backlog at the crematorium and eventually got a funeral date 17 days later.
Janet, 60, of Jasmine Avenue, Jasmine Park, said: "It’s such a ludicrous situation having to wait so long and a horrible feeling. You just want closure.
"Yes, you can have a morning slot but you need options. What are you going to do after a service at 9am – take everyone to go and have breakfast?"
Funeral directors say the broken-down cremator, one of two, means they can only deal with half the number of funerals.
Cheshire East Council is replacing both units in June but work will not be completed until December.
A spokesman for Macclesfield Hospital said it could cope with the delay.
Peter Brocklehurst, of JW Brocklehurst and Sons funeral directors, said: "You either want to go to Macclesfield and wait until a time becomes available, or travel to other crematoria and the additional cost that brings."
Andrew Smith, of Andrew Smith Funeral Services, added: "The capacity is reduced by 50 per cent and there is less flexibility in the service times available during the day due to demand."
Coun Rod Menlove, cabinet member for environmental services, said the council was doing everything it can.
"There are morning appointments which are regularly available and we would urge families to use these where possible.
"In the lead-in to a replacement programme, one cremator has had to be decommissioned, which unfortunately has reduced the number of cremations we are able to complete.
"The two cremators are, however, being replaced by new cremators in June and the work should be completed by December."
The council says disruption will be kept to a minimum during the replacement programme.