Heartache of Northampton man unable to lay his grandfather to rest four months after his death

John Edward Rowe died in March 2018 after losing the battle with oesophagal cancer.
John Edward Rowe died in March 2018 after losing the battle with oesophagal cancer.

A Northampton lad has shared the heartache of being unable to afford his grandfather's funeral who has now been lying in state for over 17 weeks.

John Edward Rowe died on March 28 this year aged 76 after losing the battle to oesophagal cancer. He lived in Eastfield for 40 years and is remembered by his friends and family as a man who was "loved by everyone" and "a Cobblers fan all his life".

John's family have been unable to afford his funeral arrangements - and as a result he has been lying in state for over four months.

John's family have been unable to afford his funeral arrangements - and as a result he has been lying in state for over four months.

But now, four months later, his family has been unable to lay him to rest in the face of a £3,400 bill, which includes over £1,500 of upfront third-party fees.

His grandson, Curtis Colt, 20, said: "To not give him a send off has been horrible.

"I wouldn't wish this on any other family. You can't move on, you can't sleep and you feel like it's all your fault."

Curtis' family arranged a funeral through Co-Op Funeralcare, in Barrack Road, but without a plan in place they were unable to afford the upfront fees.

His grandson Curtis said: "I just want to say goodbye to him."

His grandson Curtis said: "I just want to say goodbye to him."

Co-Op offered a cheaper direct cremation, which does not involve a service for mourners to attend.

Curtis said: "With that, you don't know the time and date it will happen. That's not what I want really. I just want a chance to say goodbye to him."

The family was also unable to secure a Department of Work and Pensions funeral grant to cover the cost of a service.

As a result, Mr Rowe has now been lying in state at the Barrack Road branch for 17 weeks. Co-Op do not charge for this service.

Curtis said: "He was a hard-working man for 60 years of his life and was known by everyone where he lived. He liked to help people with their gardens and took newspapers around the neighbourhood. I just want to see him laid to rest at last."

A spokesperson from Northampton Borough Council said: “Residents unable to afford funeral costs for their loved ones should always seek DWP funding in the first instance. If this is unsuccessful, the council can investigate how it can help.”

A spokesperson from Co-op Funeralcare, said: “We are truly sorry for the family’s loss. With any potential client we assess their affordability criteria to offer suitable funeral options in a responsible way. In this case, we advised the family of our most affordable funeral option and provided additional advice including guidance regarding a local authority funeral.

“For any funeral that we arrange, we are required to pay third parties for their services in advance. These include crematorium fees or doctors’ fees, for example. For this reason, we request for the fees to be paid in the first instance so we can make arrangements on the client’s behalf.

“We have made many attempts to speak with the family to support them with arrangements and will continue to care for the individual at the highest standard. The local authority is now involved to provide additional help and we will continue to work with them to resolve this.”