Heartbroken daughter has nowhere to bury dad after funeral home collapses

Heartbroken daughter has nowhere to bury dad after funeral home collapses

A heartbroken daughter whose parents paid over £5000 for funeral services says she has been left with nowhere to bury her dad after a funeral parlour abruptly stopped trading with many customers left in the lurch.

Nikki McLoughlin’s dad Bernard Skerrett, 77, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease and asbestos-related illness, passed away on Monday having contracted Covid-19.

He and his wife Veronica had taken out funeral plans with Heavenly Services in Hull but the company never even booked a plot for the grave, according to Hull City Council.

Mr Skerrett’s family have been left with no way of burying him and claim police are now investigating the transaction as fraud, Hull Live reported.

The future of Heavenly Services appears in doubt after its managing director Simon Woolston, 51, died on October 11
(
Hull Daily Mail/MEN Media)

The future of Heavenly Services appears in doubt after its managing director Simon Woolston, 51, died on October 11.

Ms McLoughlin said: “My mum and dad took out two cremation plans in October 2018. They paid £2,335 each in cash but then were later asked for a further £500 for the internment of the ashes.

“My dad later decided he wanted to be buried instead so he could be near his mum in Eastern Cemetery while my mum wanted a cheaper cremation. After a bit of confusion this was sorted out.

“My dad passed away on Monday and I tried calling Heavenly Services but could not get through.

“I heard the owner had passed away and I saw the premises had not been open. I was growing concerned. My head was spinning. I did not need this.”

Ms McLoughlin said when she finally got through to Heavenly Services she was told of the dire situation.

Ms McLoughlin said: “My dad worked hard all his life but never had much money and he paid a lot up front for his funeral. My dad was very old fashioned and never used cards.

“On Tuesday a lady from Heavenly Services finally got back to me [to say] they were to cease trading with all the assets being frozen. She suggested I find a new funeral directors.”

The Skerretts had taken out funeral plans with Heavenly Services in Hull but the company never even booked a plot for the grave
(
Hull Daily Mail/MEN Media)

The situation got even worse for Mr Skerrett’s famil when Hull City Council confirmed there was no plot reserved for her dad.

“I have now contacted the DWP to see if there is any way they can help fund the funeral as my dad did receive some benefits.

“But we don’t have an appointment until November 9.

“I feel physically sick. My dad would be turning. I dread to think what he is thinking up there.

Safe Hands, an third party insurance company for funerals, said it had received a number of calls from Heavenly Services customers.

One grieving woman claimed she was contacted by Heavenly Services to get her partner “picked up” from the parlour as they were no longer able to perform his service.

Sonya Smith, 41, had organised for Heavenly Services to handle the cremation and service for her long-term partner Rich Birch, 51, who
died from a burst brain aneurysm on October 3.

The funeral home had already had Mr Birch’s body for a week at the time of the call, and Ms Smith’s appointment was due to take place the following day to discuss the funeral arrangements.

Ms Smith said: “I was taking my son to school when I got a phone call from a not very sympathetic and abrupt voice said: ‘I’m sorry but we are not able to do the funeral anymore and we want you to get him picked up.’

“I was just so shocked. I don’t even remember what I said in response. I felt like saying: ‘What on earth am I supposed to do, send a taxi?'”

Heavenly Services has not responded to numerous requests from Hull Live for comment. When called by the Mirror, an automated voicemail recording said that the mail box was full and could not accept new messages.

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