A family was shocked to discover that they’d been visiting their deceased father at the wrong grave for more than 43 years. Sylvia Ross, 67, has been visiting the headstone she believed belonged to her father, John Thomas Thompson, at Witton Park Cemetery in Bishop Auckland in the UK since 1979, the year he passed away. However, she recently discovered it isn’t her dad she’s been visiting at all.
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The grave actually belongs to a stranger named Frederick Brown. Ross was recently told that in fact, her father is in an unmarked grave a few yards away from the stone she’d been laying flowers at. The family found out the horrific truth thanks to a Facebook post about a wrongly placed plaque at the cemetery that was due to be moved. Soon after, they confirmed the truth.
Frederick Brown’s family wanted to place a memorial on their double plot. However, they had to contact their local council because there wasn’t enough room. At that point, Ross asked for a marker to be placed on her father’s grave to identify it, which is when things got weird. “They put it on the plot we’ve been visiting my whole life and have taken flowers to every birthday, Christmas, and Father’s Day while he has actually laid there with nothing,” she said. “It’s just disgusting, how can they get something so simple so wrong.”
An investigation is said to be underway. How could something like this happen? That’s unclear, but authorities are investigating how such a mistake could even happen. How is it that her father was actually buried only two plots away?
Ross’s daughter, Lynette, conveyed just how devastated the family is about this revelation. “I never met my grandad, but my mam has been visiting his grave for 43 years and is utterly devastated,” she said. “She’s heartbroken as she says her dad has laid there thinking not one of us cared about him, with no flowers and no visits, nothing.”
Durham County Council’s bereavement services manager Graham Harrison has apologized for what Ross and her family have gone through. “At the time, the cemetery would have been managed by Wear Valley District Council,” he explained. “Once we were made aware of the historic mistake, we carefully moved the items to the correct grave within the quickest possible time scale. Although the grave has now been corrected, this does not take away from the pain the family has experienced, and we would like to reiterate our sincerest apologies for any hurt that has been caused.”