Son Forced to Move from Mother at Father’s Funeral

A son was forced to move away from his grieving mother at his father’s funeral because of strict social distancing rules. Craig Bicknell has described himself as being left “angry and upset,” after staff at Crownhill Crematorium upheld the strict rules during the memorial service for his late father. After deciding to sit by his mother, whom he described as “vulnerable” and “lost.” The local authority in charge of the venue, Milton Keynes Council, has apologised following the incident, insisting a more “considered approach” was required. Speaking to BBC news, Mr Bicknell described the events that took place at the funeral: “I made everyone aware that I [would] need to comfort my mum at some point. When I saw my mum break as she did, it just took over that I had to comfort her and put my arm around her.”

According to strict rules regarding funerals during the coronavirus pandemic, all chairs were spaced out. This left Mr Biknell’s mother sat by herself. As the occasion got the better of his mother, Mr Bicknell moved his chair next to hers to comfort her during the service. When his brother moved his chair to be next to their mother too, an employee at the crematorium told them, “You have to put them back, I’m afraid. You can’t move the chairs, you were told.” Mr Bicknell described the experience as leaving him “angry, upset” and with “an empty feeling.” With him still due to deliver a eulogy for his late father, he complied with the orders in order to prevent further disruption to the service. Although the move, “totally ruined the day,” Mr Bicknell insisted, “It was very hard to do. I needed the service to carry on for my dad.”

Milton Keynes Council later 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.”

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