Tuesday, 20 Oct 2020

Sons told off for comforting mum at funeral say she 'needed us more than ever'

Two brothers who were told off for moving closer to their mum during their dad’s funeral said they couldn’t ‘sit there and watch’ as she broke down.

In footage of the funeral, Craig and Paul Bicknell can be sitting more than a metre away from their mum due to social distancing restrictions. They then moved to comfort her, but were instantly told off and made to move back by a member of staff at the Crematorium.

Speaking to Good Morning Britain today, Craig said his mum had needed her sons ‘more than ever’ after his father died of a heart attack. He had previously been to the funeral of a friend, and warned his family about the way the service would take place.

He said: ‘I did speak to everybody and say my mum is very vulnerable, if she does break I will need to go and comfort my mum. I couldn’t sit there and watch my mum go through that.’

Describing how he had felt when he was told to move away from her, Craig went on: ‘The way [the staff member] came flying out of the room towards us, I was slightly nervous of how much pace he was coming at me with.

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‘When he was staying “stop” and explaining what he wanted us to do, I had to make a split second decision.

‘Do I react or do I try and talk to this guy, reason with this guy, and beg him to let me be with my mum? Or do I just sit back down, move my chair and give the service that my dad and we needed. Going forward, it was anger, it was a really empty feeling.’

Milton Keynes Council have since apologised to the family for the decision to step in during the service. A spokesperson said: ‘We are sorry to have upset this family.

‘We don’t usually step in if a guest needs to be comforted by another family member and in this instance should have taken a more considered approach.

‘We ask funeral directors to let us know whether any chairs should be grouped in advance, and from now on this includes guests who are in the same household or bubbles, as well as people who need extra support.  We hope this provides additional comfort at a difficult time.’

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