Flooding makes burials 'impossible' in worst hit areas
Flood crisis has caused further anguish for bereaved families
Flooding caused by recent bouts of severe weather have made burying loved ones "impossible" for families in some of the worst hit areas.
Burials are now becoming difficult because grounds are too saturated with water and conditions are proving dangerous for grave diggers.
This is an issue exacerbated by mortuaries being unable to store bodies for long periods of time, the chief executive of the Institute of Cemetery and Crematory Management has warned.
Tim Morris said it is "absolutely terrible for people", adding that he has never known cemeteries to be this affected by the weather.
"As soon as you start to dig, the graves fill with water, and of course that's not only difficult for funerals, it's also quite dangerous for the gravediggers to dig down six or seven feet with water coming in and potentially the sides of the excavation collapsing," he said.
Mr Morris said there is "very little the burial authorities can do until the water subsides".
"You can imagine it's impossible to excavate a grave for a funeral where parts of the cemetery are under two feet of water."
He said as soon as the surface water is gone, authorities will do everything they can to ensure that affected cemeteries are operational again.
Randalls Park Crematorium in Leatherhead, Surrey, flooded on Christmas Eve and had to close.
A spokesman said it is expected to reopen at the end of this month.
The River Mole runs through the grounds of the crematorium and the spokesman said that in 25 years there had never been a flood.
He said it had caused "substantial damage", and people were being advised that they could go to Surrey and Sussex Crematorium instead while repairs take place.
"Most families took up that option," he said.
Natasha Bradshaw, manager at Mortlake Crematorium, in west London, said the crematorium where she works was unaffected despite being next to the river, but having worked in cemeteries before she expressed sympathy for people working in them at this time.
Ms Bradshaw said she had been told about a cemetery in Cornwall where water was "all over the headstones", and said these conditions would prevent anyone from preparing a grave.
She added: "I would just know, having worked in cemeteries before, that I'd be a bit worried, because you'd be worried about the ground conditions, so you're worried about the safety of your staff.
"And you're worried about the ground, so when people turn up... if you imagine going on with a digger as well, the grass is all going to get turned up, so it can just look really messy too, so it's just horrible for families.
A spokeswoman for the National Association of Funeral Directors said there were isolated incidents rather than a nationwide issue.
Additional reporting by Press Association
- 1 The truth about 'girl things': Three cheers for Heather Watson's honesty
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 5 Men behaving badly: Urinating while standing, 'manspreading' and the gendering of selfishness
Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign
Ellen DeGeneres leads Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow and Paul Bettany in revealing game of Never Have I Ever
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...
Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...
£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...