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Monday, 13 August 2018

Grieving daughter, 60, wins £9,000 in compensation after Co-op Funeralcare mistakenly scattered her mother's ashes after confusing them with someone else's

  • Hilda Kendall, who died aged 89 in 2015, wanted her ashes scattered at Whitby
  • Her daughter Elaine Kendall, 60, described it as the 'place she loved most' 
  • Told court: ‘I can never carry out mum’s final wish and nothing can make it right'
  • Court awarded her £9,007 for breach of contract and aggravated damages 
A grieving daughter was awarded £9,000 in compensation after Co-op Funeralcare mistakenly scattered her mother’s ashes after confusing them with someone else’s.
Elaine Kendall, 60, wanted to scatter Hilda Kendall’s remains in the sea at Whitby in North Yorkshire on what would have been her 91st birthday, on August 12, 2016.
But staff at Britain's largest funeral firm had scattered Mrs Kendall’s remains in November 2015, believing they belonged to another family who shared the same surname.
Ms Kendall spoke of her upset and pain at Wandsworth County Court as she was awarded £9,007, for breach of contract, aggravated damages, interest and costs.  
In a statement she said: ‘My mum, Hilda Kendall, lived a simple, modest life. She was in the Auxiliary Territorial Service during World War Two while my dad served in the Royal Marines at the D-Day Landings and in Burma. 
Hilda Kendall, pictured, was 89 when she passed away in May 2015. Her final wish was for her ashes to be scattered in the sea at Whitby, North Yorkshire, 'the place she loved the most'
Hilda Kendall, pictured, was 89 when she passed away in May 2015. Her final wish was for her ashes to be scattered in the sea at Whitby, North Yorkshire, 'the place she loved the most'
'She asked for little in this life. However, her final wish was that her ashes be scattered in the sea at Whitby, the place she loved the most.'
She continued: ‘To say that we were devastated when Co-op Funeralcare told us of its grievous mistake is an understatement.
‘I can never carry out my mum’s final wish and nothing can make it right. I asked Co-op Funeralcare to refund me the money I paid for the funeral together with a relatively small sum so that I can buy a memorial for my mum in Whitby.
‘The company refused to do so.
‘Co-op Funeralcare has defended the fact that it mistakenly scattered my mum’s ashes and has offered a few hundred pounds refund, which suggests that it considers returning the ashes after a funeral as an unimportant part of the service it provides.
‘In addition, it has poured scorn on my mum’s wishes and prolonged the distress and grief that my siblings and I have suffered since that terrible day when we realised we could not carry out mum’s wishes. 
'Win or lose today we just think the public should know how Co-op Funeralcare deals with bereaved families when it makes grievous mistakes.'
Ms Kendall also went on to say she was 'shocked' by the way the company responded to her request for a refund.
But Co-op Funeralcare mistakenly scattered Mrs Kendall's ashes before her daughter Elaine Kendall, pictured here with sister Linda Bullock (left), got the chance. She was awarded £9,007 in damages
But Co-op Funeralcare mistakenly scattered Mrs Kendall's ashes before her daughter Elaine Kendall, pictured here with sister Linda Bullock (left), got the chance. She was awarded £9,007 in damages
She added: ‘Despite trying conciliation, some of the statements made in the defence demonstrate not only the level to which the defendant is entrenched in this case but also a level of heartlessness one would hope not to encounter in the funeral business.
‘In particular, I find the statement that my mother’s wish to have a ceremony for the scattering of her ashes on the sea at Whitby did not constitute a memorial and so I cannot now say I want one for her, particularly offensive.’
Mrs Kendall was 89 when she passed away on 3 May 2015.
Ms Kendall sat in court with sister Linda Bullock, 67, as Judge John Hugman said: ‘Forgive me, but your memory of your mother has no price. The law I am afraid does have its hard edges particularly when it comes to contract.’
Speaking outside court Ms Kendall said: ‘Whilst my siblings and I will never be able to fulfill my mother’s final wishes, with today’s win we hope that Co-Op Funeral Care will now ensure it puts robust procedures in place to ensure that no other family has to go through what we went through.
‘It has been extremely difficult couple of years but with this victory we feel that we now have some form of justice and closure for our mother and can now secure an appropriate memorial for her in Whitby.’    

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