A grieving family have been fined £200 because the funeral they attended overran by 14 seconds, Crematorium bosses have been accused of having ‘no humanity or sympathy’ after being issued the fine.
The council believe the fine is justified despite being down to a mourner who was on walking sticks and struggling to walk taking 14 seconds too long to leave the building.
It’s 14 seconds that has now cost the family £200, North East Lincolnshire Council who runs the building admits they give out penalties for any service which runs over it’s allocated slot even if that is just 14 seconds.
The news featured in GrimsbyLive as they reported that a Cleethorpes family were fined £200 when their father’s funeral overran by 14 seconds because an infirm mourner on walking sticks meant it took longer to clear the chapel.
Local councillor Keith Brookes, who was approached by the upset family, said: ‘It looks as if someone is holding a stopwatch, clicking as someone walks in the chapel and checks the last one to leave.
‘I want to make sure we no longer have funerals that penalise families.’
He says the policy is ‘hitting people at their most vulnerable’ and he has tried unsuccessfully to find out from the council how many families have been lumped with fines. ‘Some funeral directors may absorb the fine but not all of them will. But it seems there is no humanity or sympathy,” he added.
The crematorium already charges £620 for 40 minutes have told the family they should have booked two slots at a cost of £1,240 to avoid the £200 fine which is issued to every service that overruns, Meaning the council must have a stopwatch on every single service.
Another Councillor Matthew Patrick has blamed the 14-second delay on the funeral directors who should ensure the services finish on time saying ‘Funeral directors are the ones that orchestrate events and should be respectful and mindful there will be funeral services later in the day.
‘Any delay causes delays for later funeral processions which is what we would like to avoid. There is a disincentive for funeral directors to do that and stick to the time slot that is given to them.
‘I can understand why it is so rigid because you do not want to be held up at the start. It has to be efficient.
‘But if there is someone who is infirm you need to be sensitive and maybe a warning would be more appropriate.’