Brothers who were berated for comforting their mother at their father’s funeral have revealed it was ‘absolutely heartbreaking’ not to be able to support their ‘vulnerable’ mum.
Craig Bicknell, from Milton Keynes, yesterday revealed he had moved his chair in order to comfort his mother at the funeral of his father Alan Wright on 2nd October at Crownhill Crematorium, before his brother Paul and other mourners followed suit.
But it wasn’t long before a member of staff interrupted the service by waving his arms and shouting at the mourners to ‘move the chairs back’.
Appearing on Good Morning Britain today, the pair said that they ‘hadn’t left their mother’s side’ since their father passed away, and that the staff member moving towards them with ‘such aggression’ made the ‘hardest day of their life’ worse.
Craig Bicknell revealed he had moved his chair in order to comfort his mother, whom he had been in a ‘bubble’ with, at his father’s funeral at Crownhill Crematorium before a member of staff interrupted the service to move them apart
Appearing on Good Morning Britain today, Craig (right) and brother Paul (left) told that the staff member moving towards them with ‘such aggression’ made the ‘hardest day of their life’ worse
‘It was absolutely heartbreaking to go through,’ Paul explained. ‘That it was the hardest day of our life anyway and someone moving with that aggression, when all we wanted to do was comfort our mum at the hardest time.’
Craig went on to explain that that he had warned staff at the crematorium that he would have to comfort his mother ‘if she broke’ and that he and Paul had been ‘by her side’ since their dad passed away.
He said: ‘When my dad passed away two and half weeks ago, we haven’t left her side [since]. She needed us.
‘I did speak to everyone and said, “My mum is vulnerable, I will need to go comfort my mum if she breaks”.’
Alan Wright died from a heart attack in September and his funeral service was held at Crownhill Crematorium in Milton Keynes on 2nd October
The shocking moment a member of staff at a crematorium in Milton Keynes interrupted a funeral in order to berate mourners for being too close together has been caught on camera and shared widely online
He added: ‘I had to make a split second decision to react, do I talk to him and beg to be with my mum? Or sit back down and give my dad the service he needed? There was anger, it was a really empty feeling.’
Viewers were left furious, branding the staff member a ‘nasty jobsworth’ and insisting they were left ‘speechless’ by the incident.
Craig said he and his brother Paul were left devastated by the ‘telling off’, as they grieved the loss of their father who died from a heart attack in September.
Writing on Facebook he said: ‘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. But when I want to give my mum a cuddle at dads funeral, a man flies out mid service shouting stop the service and makes us split…A devastating day made even worse.’
Craig went on to explain that that he had warned staff at the crematorium that he would have to comfort his mother ‘if she broke’
Viewers were left furious, branding the staff member a ‘nasty jobsworth’ and insisting they were left ‘speechless’ by the incident
A spokesperson for Milton Keynes Council said: ‘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.’
In a video capturing the moment on camera, mourners could be seen seated around the room on chairs at a social distance from others.
As the service began, Craig who was sitting in the front row moved his chair to be next to his mother, placing his arm around her shoulder in comfort.
The man on the other side of her quickly followed suit, before a person in the second row began to move his chair closer to a woman seated next to him.
But before he was able to move, a man rushed into the frame, waving his arms and shouting: ‘Sorry, sorry, you have to put the chairs back I’m afraid.’
The late Alan Wright pictured with his son Paul. The family say that they were left devastated by the incident, which made an already painful day even ‘worse’
Attendees at the service were initially placed on seats at a social distance from one another before the unnamed man, who was sitting in the front row, moved so that he could comfort his mother (pictured left and right)
Shortly after the first man moved, a second man within the front row also moved to be closer to the elderly woman (pictured)
As he approached the mourners in the front row, he went on: ‘You can’t move the chairs, you were told.’
The stunned group moved back to their original positions, and the celebrant continued with the service.
Posting the clip on Facebook, the Milton Keynes Community Hub commented: ‘We were contacted by a resident who recently said goodbye to his father at Crownhill Crematorium.
‘They wanted us to help highlight how traumatic and upsetting the experience of a funeral now is, on top of the already sadness people feel when laying somebody to rest.’
They went on to share a comment from Craig, who said: ‘We are absolutely heartbroken. Me and my brother haven’t been able to leave my mums side for two weeks as it is, being there for my mum, within her bubble.’
However a member of staff rushed into the room, waving his arms and telling mourners to move the chairs back to their original positions
The unnamed man said the interruption had shocked mourners in the room and left the family devastated
He explained: ‘It scared my daughter and shocked everyone in the room.
‘This is not how funerals should be and with the guidelines in place for pubs, bars, public transport etc, how this can carry on at funerals is beyond belief.’
The clip quickly went viral as thousands of Facebook users said they were left outraged by the staff member’s behaviour.
One person commented: ‘Although I do not know them, my condolences to the family involved. I am absolutely f***ing incensed.
‘The way in which the service was interrupted and the manner in which they were spoken to are beyond forgiveness. I think I would have got up and walked out in disgust.’
After the interruption, attendees moved their seats back to their original position before the service continued
Another wrote: ‘It is shocking, you should not separate family members who live together when attending a funeral. In fact it’s more than shocking, it is down right cruel!’
A third added: ‘We went through this in April and I was unable to console my own children with the loss of their beautiful nanna my amazing mum.
‘The effect on us mentally is indescribable the pain is long felt. As a family we feel we have not been able to honour my darling mum.’
What are the restrictions on funerals?
Funerals can still take place and organisations that provide funeral services have stayed open throughout the pandemic.
In England, a maximum of 30 people can attend. But venues may have different rules depending on how much space they have.
The government’s rules on social distancing apply to funerals. This means that people living in different households must stay two metres apart from each other.
Those attending must also wear a face covering.
Activities such as singing, chanting, requiring raised voices or playing of instruments that are blown into should be specifically avoided.
In England, you might be able to have a wake in a venue which has social distancing measures in place, such as a pub or restaurant.
If you want to have a wake at home, inside or outside, you can only have 6 people in total.