Grieving son’s fury after company misplaces his father’s body on the day of the funeral and director tells bereaved relative the ‘hearse had broken down’
- Leigh Blanning, 51, of Bristol, claims the funeral company ‘lost’ his father’s body
- Funeral director L J Guyan admitted to lying that the ‘hearse had broken down’
A grieving son has hit out at a funeral company after they misplaced his father’s body on the day of his funeral – and told him the hearse had broken down.
Leigh Blanning’s father, 82-year-old John Blanning, passed away in December.
Leigh, 51, of Bristol, planned the funeral through company L J Guyan, but when it came to the day, it could not go ahead.
An investigation by the company later found that, after being sent to Bath to be prepared for the funeral, John’s body was not returned to the company’s premises in Keynsham.
This meant that when the hearse arrived at the funeral director’s office, the body was still in Bath – nine miles away.
Leigh Blanning’s father, 82-year-old John Blanning (left), passed away in December. Leigh (right), 51, of Bristol, planned his father’s funeral through company L J Guyan
The funeral director admitted that Leigh was contacted and told the ‘hearse had broken down’, but that this was not true
Leigh said: ‘It was the most horrific experience I’ve ever had. Even now, a couple of months, on I don’t feel any justice has been done.
‘I feel that I’ve let my dad down and it’s left me feeling so bitter and angry about it.’
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On the day of his father’s funeral, January 16, Leigh claims he received a call from L J Guyan informing him that there had been an issue – and the funeral would be going ahead later than planned.
Devastated Leigh had to tell mourners to go straight to the wake and was later told by L J Guyan that the delay has been because the ‘hearse had broken down’.
He says funeral company offered to rearrange the service for the following Friday – but many of the mourners couldn’t attend the new date.
Dissatisfied with the experience, Leigh requested a full investigation and months later received a report.
The report said that John’s body was taken to Bath to be prepared for the funeral but he was then not transported back to the L J Guyan’s premises in Keynsham as he should have been, with staff failing to carry out checks.
This meant that when the hearse arrived at the Keynsham property on the day of the funeral, John’s body was still in Bath.
The report said: ‘On the morning of 16th January, the day that your father’s funeral was due to take place, our funeral director went to close your fathers coffin and prepare for the funeral and realised that your father was not resting in Keynsham.
‘She discovered that your father was still resting in Bath. By this time, our bearer party and hearse were arriving at Keynsham.’
The report added: ‘Our funeral director contacted you and told you that our hearse had broken down. This was not true.’
Leigh, who quit his job to look after his dad, said: ‘How can you lose a body? In the report they accept full liability, they admit lying and failing.
He claimed that he was contacted by the firm the day before the funeral and told everything was fine.
‘No one realised the body was in Bath and no one in Bath realised he was there – you would imagine they do some kind of stock check,’ he added.
Leigh said: ‘It was the most horrific experience I’ve ever had. Even now, a couple of months, on I don’t feel any justice has been done’
Leigh, who reconnected with his dad after 38 years apart just a decade ago, said the experience has been ‘completely upsetting’.
Due to the chaos, he said ‘people weren’t giving much thought to dad’ and the funeral ended up being a day where everyone was ‘talking about what happened instead’.
A spokesperson for L J Guyan said: ‘Caring for deceased persons in a professional and respectful manner is at the core of everything we do.
‘We accept that in this instance our robust procedures and policies have not been followed and we have fallen short of the standards we strive for and that our clients have every right to expect.
The spokesperson added: ‘We have apologised in person to our client and will continue to support them.
‘Following a thorough investigation, we have amended our processes to ensure there is no repeat of this regrettable situation.’
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