Hertfordshire church grave dispute delayed burial

A funeral was delayed for two hours because of a dispute about the size of the grave.

Peter Worby said his father William was due to be buried, but a priest at Old Hall Green in Hertfordshire said the grave was not deep enough.

After an agreement was reached, the priest allowed the 98-year-old’s burial to go ahead, but Mr Worby said his family were “robbed of grief”.

A senior Catholic bishop apologised for “the added distress”.

The dispute arose in the lead up to Wednesday’s service, but Mr Worby said the family believed it had been resolved in advance.

Mr Worby, 62, said he arrived at the Church of St Edmund and the English Martyrs on the day of the funeral, could not find the priest and was informed he was at the burial plot but there was a “problem” and the dispute was continuing.

“I got on my hands and knees and measured the grave which was 46in (117cm),” said Mr Worby.

“In sandy soil the minimum recommended is 24in (61cm) and when my father’s coffin went in it measured 30in (76cm).”

According to the Natural Death Society, there is no legal minimum depth for a burial but the Ministry of Justice recommends a minimum of 24in (61cm) of soil between the coffin lid and ground level.

After more discussions, the service went eventually ahead.

“Many mourners had to wait outside in freezing cold as only a few could wait in the church hall due to social distancing,” Mr Worby said.

“I begged the priest to allow my father to be buried. I was in disbelief. I feel robbed of my grief.

“My family and I all agree, it wasn’t a funeral. We were all in shock and anger.”

In a statement, Bishop Paul McAleenan, Auxiliary Bishop in Westminster, said: “Every effort is made to carry out this important duty with dignity for the deceased and care for the bereaved.

“Unfortunately on this occasion there were some complications involving the grave plot which upset the family of the deceased.

“We are sorry for the added distress they suffered as a result.”

Bristol illegal rave attended by 700 people

Police say they are continuing to deal with an illegal rave at a warehouse near Bristol.

Officers who were called to Yate at around 22:30 GMT on Saturday said up to 700 people were in attendance.

Some of the crowd began acting violently towards officers as they were told to leave, Avon and Somerset Police said.

The crowd was ordered to disperse and police said two people were in custody.

A force spokesman said when officers arrived they “found a number of vehicles and several hundred people” at the site.

“Roads approaching the area were closed to prevent more people reaching the site by car but large numbers of people continued to arrive on foot from several different directions,” he said.

The spokesman added a “number of the people being prevented from entering the premises” became hostile towards the police.

“Items, including lit spray cans and bottles, were thrown at police, some of whom were injured but remained on duty,” he said.

“A secure cordon was put in place by 4am, but it is estimated that approximately 500 to 700 people were on site

Power was cut to the building but an alternative source was being used, the spokesman said.

“Additional resources have been sought this morning from neighbouring forces to support our response as we seek to bring the event to a close as soon as possible and safely disperse those remaining on site.”

Fishing crew rescued as Storm Aiden sweeps in

The crew of a fishing boat was rescued after breaking down as Storm Aiden battered Scotland.

The four people on board the 22ft (6.7m) vessel managed to secure it to a fish farm mooring in Loch Etive in Argyll while they waited for help.

The RNLI lifeboat from Oban towed the boat to safety as winds gusted at 60 mph.

Storm Aiden led to flood warnings and travel disruption as it passed across the country.

The RNLI team initially towed the fishing boat back to Taynuilt but the pier there was mostly submerged and it would be difficult to get the crew ashore.

Instead the boat was secured to a mooring in Airds Bay and the crew were taken to Dunstaffnage marina.

Ally Cerexhe, Oban lifeboats coxswain said “With the bad weather set to continue for the rest of the weekend, please take extra care when visiting the coast and think twice about heading out on the water in these conditions.

“Although the lochs may appear to provide some shelter, the strong winds and high tides still pose the same risk.”

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) still had 22 flood warnings in place on Sunday while the Met Office had a weather warning for high winds in the Western Isles and the north west.

Sepa duty manager Mark Franklin said: “We are expecting rainfall over the south west this afternoon and evening which may lead to flooding impacts from rivers and surface water in Dumfries and Galloway.

“We have a number of warnings out in the north east after yesterday’s rainfall but the rivers should peak later today. Impacts may include flooding of land and roads, disruption to travel and difficult driving conditions.”

A road in Helensburgh was closed on Saturday after large chunks of masonry fell from a building that was in a poor state of repair.

Many ferries were cancelled, and train services in Glasgow were suspended for a time after a trampoline blew onto the line at Queens Park.

The A83 Rest and Be Thankful remains closed after heavy rain but the Old Military Road local diversion route has now reopened – although it will close again as a precaution on Sunday evening from 18:00.

Eddie Ross of Bear Scotland said: “Safety has to come first and as ever we thank the local community and road users for their patience while we address the situation at the Rest.

“Argyll remains very much open for business and we ask road users to plan their journey in advance by checking Traffic Scotland for the real-time travel information.”

Swindon flood: Residents could be homeless until Christmas

Families evacuated after “large scale flooding” in Swindon have been told they may not be able to return until after Christmas.

At least 10 properties in Haydon Wick were affected after a plume of water two storeys high rose up from a burst main in the early hours of Saturday.

Flats were evacuated and a road closure was put in place on Thames Avenue.

Thames Water said the pipe has now been repaired and alternative accommodation arranged for those affected.

Shane Johnson, who lives in one of the affected properties, said it had been “like a dream”

“I heard a massive bang like an explosion and I heard loads of noise from neighbours and we opened the door and could see water everywhere,” he said.

“It was a massive flood – it was madness.”

He said he was “gutted” when he was told they might not be able to move back until after Christmas.

Thames Water said it was “really sorry” but was “supporting customers from the properties who have been flooded”.

“Our customer and insurance teams are working to assess the damage and each individual resident’s needs,” a spokesman said.

“We have arranged for alternative accommodation for those who are not able to return to their homes and we’ll do everything we can to get their lives back to normal as soon as we can.”

Devon container spill: Impossible task to gather incontinence pads

The cleanup of thousands of incontinence pads washed up on a beach is an “impossible task”, a local volunteer has said.

A container washed up on Tuesday at Bucks Mills in north Devon and Storm Aiden .

Anne-Marie Everleigh, from Plastic Free North Devon, described the pollution as “heartbreaking”.

She said: “Packets of nappies as far as the eye can see and it just seems like an impossible task.”

Volunteers and council workers have been attempting to clean the spillage since Tuesday.

However, the contents have been spread about 13 miles (21km) from Bucks Mills to Barricane Beach north of Woolacombe by the stormy weather conditions.

The container fell off an unnamed ship in September alongside ten others which have either sunk or been collected after landing in Devon and Wales.

Six of them were empty and five had “non-hazardous” contents, according to the coastguard.

Croyde Beach Ranger Holly Robertson said “hours of work” had already been done by volunteers.

She said: “The nappies are starting to break up, so it’s getting harder and harder as the days go on.”