A 67-year-old woman named Sylvia Ross buried her father, John Thomas Thompson, at Witton Park Cemetery in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, back in 1979. And ever since, the woman has regularly gone to see his grave on all occasions, like birthdays, Father's Day, and even Christmas.
However, very recently, this woman discovered that the plot she had spent so much time in held the coffin of a complete stranger, a man named Frederick Brown. She came to know that her father was lying in an unmarked grave a matter of yards away.
According to Metro.co., Sylvia's daughter Lynette 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.’ She added: ‘We’re disgusted, and my mam is heartbroken.
‘I never met my grandad, but my mam has been visiting his grave for 43 years and is utterly devastated.’
The family came to know about this mistake only when they called Durham County Council about putting a memorial up on their double plot. Lynette explained: "When my grandad died, mam called the council to ask them to put a marker where he had been buried so she knew which plot she was going to. 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. It’s just disgusting. How can they get something so simple so wrong? "
When John died, the cemetery was run by Wear Valley District Council but it was then handed over to Durham County Council in 2009 when it became a unitary authority.
Durham County Council’s bereavement services manager, Graham Harrison, said: "We are sorry for the distress this error has caused the family. At the time, the cemetery would have been managed by Wear Valley District Council. Once we were made aware of the historic mistake, we carefully moved the items to the correct grave in the quickest possible time frame. "
The manager added: "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."