Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Families Unable to Bury Dead Due to Freeze; THE BIG FREEZE - DAY 16: Snow Hampers Grave Digging

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Families Unable to Bury Dead Due to Freeze; THE BIG FREEZE - DAY 16: Snow Hampers Grave Digging

Article excerpt

Byline: Brian Daniel

THE continuing effect of the horrendous winter weather on Northumberland was clear last night as families said they were unable to bury deceased loved ones.

People in one county village have had to wait to carry out funerals, while one market town was left without fuel and saw two shops closed as a result of the snow. At Rothbury, it has emerged local families have not been able to bury loved ones who have died because of the bad weather. The village's only cemetery is the responsibility of a committee of representatives from several parish councils, and maintained by a sole employee.

However, with around two and a half foot of snow having fallen at the cemetery, the ground frozen and access difficult, the worker has been unable to clear it on his own without machinery.

The Journal has been told four families have lost loved ones in the area since Saturday, November 27 and three have wanted them buried at the cemetery.

However, they have been unable to complete funeral arrangements due to not knowing when they would be able to bury their loved ones. It is understood the families have made arrangements through G T Rogerson funeral directors, part of the Co-operative Funeralcare.

The bodies of the deceased are said to be awaiting burial at the company's Amble site.

Last night, Northumberland County Councillor for Rothbury Steven Bridgett said he had been contacted by several family members concerned at their inability to bury their loved ones.

He passed on their concerns to the county council, and yesterday a team of authority workers was sent to clear snow from the cemetery - to allow a funeral to proceed today.

Coun Bridgett has offered to allow the clearance work to be funded out of his small schemes allowance.

He praised the county council, saying: "They have gone above and beyond what their responsibilities are. It is such an important thing, we have got to be able to bury those that have passed away."

Last night, Peter Dawson, chairman of Rothbury Parish Council, defended it and the other parishes saying "it is a case of what can we do" given the bad weather and the lack of resources at their disposal. …

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