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Burial error saw woman's plot sold off

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A DAUGHTER has been left devastated after the burial plot she had reserved next to her father was mistakenly given to someone else.

Shelaine Clark, 46, bought the plot next to her father’s grave in Studley Parish Cemetery after his death a decade ago, but an administrative error at Studley Parish Council led to someone else being buried in the plot in March of last year.

Shelaine, who lives in Studley, said: “I bought my plot ten years ago, next to my dad’s plot, and we went to see them in March and someone had been buried in it.

“I’d only been down there a week before. If it’d been a day before maybe I could’ve done something.”

It is believed only one of the parish council’s ledgers for the cemetery was checked – there were said to be three covering the burial plots and who owns them.

“[There was a] mistake of checking only one ledger instead of all three, which you’re supposed to do when someone purchases a plot,” said Shelaine. “So the plot was sold on. It’s a horrendous error.

“The way I was treated was disgraceful. I was supposed to have a refund for my plot and be given two others within a timeframe. By July, I still hadn’t heard anything, and had no letter of apology.”

Since then, the parish council has attempted to rectify the situation.

Shelaine explained: “What I got in the end was another plot as a gesture of good will, but obviously not where I wanted it to be. Anywhere else I wanted to go had already been sold.

“I’m very angry and upset over it. I bought the plot literally about two weeks after my dad passed away.

“We used to go down every week and cut the grass and tend to the plot, but I don’t like going down there anymore, knowing that someone else is in my plot. Obviously, I can’t do anything about it now and sadly that’s all there is to it.”

Acting clerk of Studley Parish Council, Gill Lungley, told the Herald the council could not talk about individual cases.

However, she stressed that moves were being made to review how the cemetery is managed.

“The council has recently employed two brand new members of staff, we have an active cemetery committee and are looking at consolidating good practice,” she said. “As a whole council we need to absolutely get our heads around what the burial authority should be doing and how things should be done properly. Because we have new staff, we are having to look at this with new eyes. We’re looking at everything concerned with the cemetery management, and we’re going through this whole review to ensure that the management of the cemetery is at it should be.”

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