Family distraught after realising they’ve been visiting wrong grave for 43 years

A 67-year-old woman has been left heartbroken and aghast after learning that the grave she has been visiting since her father's death in 1979 is the wrong one.

Sylvia Ross' dad was buried at Bishop Auckland's Witton Park Cemetery in County Durham 43 years ago.

But the plot she has been visiting regularly ever since actually belongs to another man named Fredrick Brown.

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Sylvia's father, meanwhile, was laid to rest two plots and a few yards away.

An investigation is now underway to establish how this hurtful error happened after the family found out about the blunder from a post on Facebook about an incorrectly-positioned plaque at the cemetery, which was being moved by the council.

It means Sylvia has been paying her respects in the wrong place ever since she was 24 and her daughter Lynette said: "I never met my grandad, but my mam has been visiting his grave for 43 years and is utterly devastated.

"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."

The mistake was uncovered after Fredrick Brown's family wanted to put a memorial on what they believed to be a double plot before contacting Durham County Council when they realised there wasn't enough room.

It was then placed on the plot where Fredrick was actually buried – the same one Sylvia and her family had been visiting through the decades.

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"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," Lynette fumed. "It's just disgusting, how can they get something so simple so wrong."

The management of the cemetery was only handed over to Durham County Council from Wear Valley District Council 13 years ago with the former's apologetic bereavement services manager Graham Harrison saying: "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."

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