A GRIEVING family had their father’s funeral ruined as his grave was still being dug when they arrived to bury him.
Former army nurse Jack Crummack, 74, of High Street, Normanton, died last month from cancer.
His family and friends attended a service at St Luke’s Church in Sharlston last Friday.
They then headed to Normanton Lower Cemetery to bury him in the same grave as his wife Margaret, who died nine years ago aged 65.
But when they arrived they had to sit in their cars while council workers finished digging the grave.
His daughter Teresa Taylor, 53, said: “I thought ‘this is not happening’. It was like a Do It Yourself funeral.
“We couldn’t believe it. The funeral director came up to us and said we couldn’t bury our dad yet as they were still digging the grave.
“We could see them digging. It was disrespectful and we were really angry.
“They have taken away from us something which we can’t do again.
“We do not want anyone going to through the pain we went through.”
Mrs Taylor said they were also not allowed near the edge of the grave as it was unsafe and had to “launch” soil on top of her dad’s coffin from six feet away.
A council spokeswoman said staff had made the sides safe and have apologised to the family.
Glynn Humphries, council’s service director for cleaner and greener, said: “We are extremely sorry for the distress that was caused to Mr Crummack’s family on what was already a very sad day for them.
“On this one occasion our services fell below the standards the public rightly expect from us.
“The area was made safe as soon as possible and the funeral then did go ahead, having been delayed for a short time.
“This is clearly not acceptable. We have met the family and have sent a letter expressing our regret and apologies that this happened.”
Mr Crummack was in the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) for 22 years and had served in Libya, Kenya and Germany.
He later worked on the oil rigs and leaves behind two grandchildren – Andrew Thomas, 26, and Thomas Russell, 25.