Siblings lose in funeral hearing

A BROTHER and sister say they are devastated after they lost a case against the Co-operative over a series of mix-ups with their dad’s funeral.

But Judge John Booth said it ‘beggared belief’ that the case had even reached court.

Ian Wilson and Carol Engel took the Co-operative funeral care to court over their dad Leslie Wilson’s funeral, which they said left them wondering whether it had even been their father in the coffin. But the funeral directors, Joseph Sheard Limited Funeral Directors, Nettleton Road, Mirfield said the firm carried out the funeral as requested by the family.

Leslie Wilson, 83, died in Pinderfields Hospital in October 2009 during treatment for bowel cancer.

The siblings arranged the funeral with Joseph Sheard, thinking they were dealing with a small family firm, but later found the firm was owned by The Co-operative.

Mr Wilson, who lives in Bridlington, said he gave specific instructions to the funeral director, including that seven relatives would each put a posy of Michaelmas daisies on the coffin.

But he said on the day of the funeral a different representative was there and was unaware of the prior arrangements.

He said: “He didn’t know we were going to put our own flowers on the coffin and he was trying to usher us into our seats while we were trying to do it.”

The family claimed the wrong version of a song was played, and Mrs Engel had difficulty collecting her father’s ashes.

There were also problems with the bill, though these were resolved, but the family decided to sue the Co-op Funeral Care over their treatment.

Judge Booth ruled in favour of the Co-op at Huddersfield County Court last Friday, saying the problems did not result in a breach of contract.

The family was ordered to pay the £2,352 bill and £85 costs.

Mr Wilson said: “I am very disappointed. You go to the funeral directors at the most vulnerable time in your life.”

A spokesperson for Joseph Sheard said: “We pride ourselves on delivering the highest possible levels of service, so we were naturally upset and disappointed to hear that Mr Wilson’s family were unhappy with the funeral we provided.

“Having undertaken a full review of the funeral we were more than satisfied that we had carried out the arrangements according to the wishes of the family, and this has been supported by the court ruling last week.”