Council blunder sees dead mum’s plot inundated
THE last time Catherine Felder saw her mother she was at peace in an open casket. Sadly, that won’t be her enduring memory.
Helen Felder from Woollamia was buried at Shoalhaven Memorial Gardens and Lawn Cemetery at Worrigee on Thursday.
After the ceremony Mrs Felder went back to talk to the workers about filling in the hole.
“They only put about a foot of sand over the coffin and then a plastic cover over the hole,” she said.
“I went back there again on Sunday and the plastic was still there but the hole hadn’t been filled and had over a metre of water in it.
On Monday morning her daughter returned to the grave to find it still open and partly filled with water from the recent rain.
“So my mother has been uncovered for four days in a hole that is full of water.
“We had an open coffin, she looked lovely and peaceful in a satin nightie, there were photos in the coffin, she had rosary beads that were given to her and the coffin was beautiful too. Now that’s all under water.
“I was there for my mum at the end and now this. There just isn’t any respect.
“Now I get to remember my mother in a coffin full of water for the rest of my life.
“When you bury someone you expect they’d be buried, but this is a downright disaster.
“I’m really upset. I can’t sleep. What the hell do these people think they’re doing? It’s just awful.
“This was left open for anyone to come along and do whatever they wanted. This isn’t what my mother wanted. The dead should be treated with respect.
“They treat her like another trunk of dead meat thrown in the ground.”
After Mrs Felder made council staff aware of the problem an investigation was undertaken.
A council spokesman said an error of judgment had been made on the part of a staff member.
“Shoalhaven City Council unreservedly apologises for any further grief this may have caused the deceased’s family.
“Council has been in communication with the deceased person’s family and has put measures in place to ensure a similar incident cannot take place again.
“Due to the extremely poor weather conditions experienced throughout the area Shoalhaven Bereavement Services were forced to defer burials at the Sandridge Cemetery at Mollymook late last week.
“A decision was made to continue burials at the Shoalhaven Memorial Gardens and Lawn Cemetery, despite the ongoing rain, in a bid to ease the suffering of families and friends of the deceased that would be caused by delaying the funerals,” he said.