Man digs mothers grave in back garden to save £5,300 funeral costs

A Hampshire man has elected to bury his mother’s grave in his back garden after being quoted £5,300 for the funeral.

John Wright, 71, described the fees quoted by a local firm for a church burial as “enormous”.

His mother, Lady Margaret Johnson died at the beginning of June at the age of 101, two years after suffering a severe stroke.

Mr Wright then decided to dig a 4 feet deep hole at his home in New Milton near Bournemouth where his mother will be laid to rest. In the meantime, he says he may buy a fridge on eBay to store her body.

He told The Telegraph: “There are enormous costs for a funeral. I have been quoted £5,300 – I think it’s outrageous.

“Obviously when people lose someone their minds are all in a daze and they really want to get it done – the funeral firms take advantage of that situation.

“People feel as if they are under pressure and that’s what they exploit. The price for a hearse to go to the chapel is £2,500 alone.

“I feel as if I am being blackmailed, harassed and intimidated into paying these very high costs. As far as I am concerned the funeral firms pinch and strip every penny out of your pocket. They are just a cartel.

“These garden burials are the sort of thing that may well become the norm for a very substantial number of people.”

It is legal to bury someone on private land in the UK provided the person doing so has permission from the landowner and the General Register Office, the Government body that records births, deaths and marriages.

But if he wanted to erect a grave stone he would have to apply for planning permission, and if he moved house he would have no legal right to visit the grave.

He continued: “I’ve checked online and the plot needs to be at least 2 feet deep. I’ll dig about 4 feet down to cover it. It won’t need supports as there’s no real danger of it caving in because it is not in a proper graveyard and it’s not near a water course.

“The ground is very hard because of all the recent hot weather, we need a bit of rain really. It’s very hard work and it is taking me longer than I expected. My mother’s body is still at the funeral director’s so I may need to buy a fridge from eBay or the local electrical shop to put in my garage to put it in while I finish digging.

“This is just pure desperation. If a few days ago someone had told me I’d be doing this next week I would have said they were mad.”

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