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Council apologises after blocking sons from hugging mum at dad's funeral
7 October 2020, 16:38
A council has apologised to a man who was "aggressively" told he had to move his chair after trying to comfort his weeping mother during his father's funeral.
Milton Keynes Council has apologised to Craig Bicknell who was told he could not hug his mother during the funeral service
A video of the incident went viral as an official at Crownhill Crematorium - which is operated by the council - told Craig and his brother that they could not move their socially-distanced chairs.
They had all been in the same support bubble for weeks, but the brothers were sharply reprimanded and told to move their chairs back.
Following the release of the video, there was an outcry from members of the public.
Craig Bicknell wrote on Facebook, "We are absolutely heartbroken as it is, me and my brother haven’t been able to leave my mum's side for two weeks as it is.
"I can sit in a restaurant, I can sit in a pub, I can live at her house, I can travel in a limousine to the crematorium with 6.
"I want to give my mum a cuddle at dad's funeral and this prick comes flying out aggressively in front of all shouting 'stop the service' and makes us split.
"It scared my daughter and shocked everyone in the room."
Speaking in his LBC breakfast show, Nick Ferrari said, "I think compassion has gone."
But a spokesman for the council told the MK Citizen: "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."
Local Conservative group leader Councillor Alex Walker is now raising the issue with Milton Keynes Council.
He said: "It's a horrible sign of the times where common sense has seemingly disappeared. These people were in a bubble together, to support each other through the death of a loved one.
"I'll be asking for a review of how MK Council is holding weddings and funerals. It's essential we keep people safe and it's essential we follow the rules, but it's equally important we try and live with the virus."