Son told to stop comforting mother at his father’s funeral because of coronavirus rules

Ross McGuinness
·3-min read

Watch: Son stopped from comforting mother at father’s funeral

A son has spoken of his anger after he was prevented from comforting his mother during his father’s funeral because of coronavirus rules.

Video footage of the ceremony in Milton Keynes shows Craig Bicknell moving his chair beside his mother’s and putting his arm around her.

He is then followed by his brother, Paul, who also moves his chair across.

A staff member, standing on the right, tells mourners not to sit together. (Milton Keynes Community Hub)
A staff member, standing on the right, tells mourners not to sit together. (Milton Keynes Community Hub)
The two brothers were ordered to put their seats back in their original positions. (Milton Keynes Community Hub)
The two brothers were ordered to put their seats back in their original positions. (Milton Keynes Community Hub)
Craig Bicknell, right, had gone to comfort his mother during his father's funeral. (Milton Keynes Community Hub)
Craig Bicknell, right, had gone to comfort his mother during his father's funeral. (Milton Keynes Community Hub)

However, within seconds, a member of staff at Crownhill Crematorium walks over to the family and tells the to keep apart, ordering the brothers to take their chairs back to their original positions.

The staff member says: “Sorry, you have to put the chairs back, I'm afraid. You can't move the chairs, you were told.”

Read more: Coronavirus pandemic sparks rise in crowdfunded funerals

The funeral of Alan Wright took place last Friday, after he died from a heart attack last month.

The video was posted on the Milton Keynes Community Hub Facebook page.

Mr Bicknell, 43, said on Facebook: “We are absolutely heartbroken.

Craig Bicknell was unable to comfort his mother during his father's funeral. (Facebook)
Craig Bicknell was unable to comfort his mother during his father's funeral. (Facebook)

“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 six.

“But when I want to give my mum a cuddle at dad’s funeral, a man flies out mid-service shouting stop the service and makes us split.

Read more: Coronavirus derails plan to cap UK funeral and cremation costs

“It scared my daughter and shocked everyone in the room. This is not how funerals should be. A devastating day made even worse.”

In a statement, Milton Keynes Council said: “We are sorry to have upset this family.

Alan Wright died last month from a heart attack. (GoFundMe)
Alan Wright died last month from a heart attack. (GoFundMe)

“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.”

The council said it asks funeral directors to let it know if chairs should be grouped together in advance, such as when guests are in the same household or bubble, as was the case with Bicknell, his brother and his mother.

Under the government’s national guidance for funerals in England, there should be no more than 30 people in attendance, and mourners must wear a face covering and keep two metres apart from each other.

Watch: £10,000 fines for people who don’t self-isolate

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