Council ‘forgot to tell family date of man’s cremation’
Alan Fitzpatrick had none of his loved ones in attendance at his funeral after North Ayrshire Council failed to tell anybody when the funeral was taking place.
Former partner Patricia McFadyen was devastated when she rang up the undertakers to check when the 51-year-old’s funeral was taking place - only to be told they were minutes away from scattering his ashes.
Patricia, 51, the mum of Alan’s 18-year-old son Jamie, raced down to their local Co-Op funeral home near their home town of Stevenston, in Ayrshire, to grab her late partner’s ashes - before it was too late to properly say goodbye.
She said: “I was so angry and upset. Alan had no family there - he was all alone. Our son and I are devastated.
“We wanted to say goodbye and lay him to rest. How can you forget to tell a family a funeral date?”
Alan - who also left behind son Simon, 19, from a previous relationship - died on August 29, but Patricia did not find out until September 1.
With no money to pay for a funeral, Patricia sought out an environmental health funeral from the council who commissioned the Co-Op funeral care in nearby Kilwinning to cremate his remains at Holmsford Bridge Crematorium, in Dreghorn.
The council even told Patricia that the Co-Op would notify her of the funeral date but it would probably be in a week.
However, when she rang back days later she was told the funeral had already taken place and she had missed it.
Patricia claims the council told her they’d tried to call and left a voicemail, but she insists she never had any missed calls or messages.
The angry mum-of-four said: “I never got any missed calls, I never got anything from them. I made a complaint and even had to fight to get his ashes back as they were just going to scatter them as no one attended.
“Thankfully I got them before it was too late. My son couldn’t even be there to say goodbye to his dad. I saw Alan every week and we had a good relationship.
“Now we will have to have a private little send off.”
She added: “It’s not like messing up an order or a purchase. You can’t cremate someone twice.
“We are already beside ourselves with grief and saying goodbye is a right everyone should have.
“Any loss is horrendous to go through, but usually you have that glimpse of a goodbye and now I feel it was taken away from us.
“Alan was a free spirit, so we are scattering the ashes slowly around the places he loved, but it’s hardly the same.
“To think in this day and age that somebody who had family and friends didn’t have anyone at his funeral is horrendous.”
• An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that it was the Co-Op funeral home, and not the council, that failed to inform Mr Fitzpatrick’s family. We apologise unreservedly for the error