Family left ‘sweepings’ instead of Tottenham mother

07:00 30 March 2012

Doreen Bowers

Doreen Bowers

Archant

A man deliberately given remains which were not his mother by a Haringey Council employee has questioned how many times it has happened.

John Bowers, 47, was distraught after he discovered the urn he buried next to his father in the family plot did not contain the remains of his mother Doreen, who lived in Cambridge Road, Tottenham, for about 40 years before her death in August 2008, but were “sweepings” off Enfield Crematorium’s floor.

The deception was uncovered by his sister, who was handed Mrs Bowers’ remains six months before her brother in January 2009.

Confused, she approached Haringey Council, which runs Enfield Crematorium.

The council later discovered Mr Bowers had been handed a false set of ashes.

Mr Bowers, who grew up in Tottenham but now lives in Hertfordshire, said the entire family felt “betrayed”.

He said: “Even to find out that once someone dies, to know the ashes end up in a bucket on the side, that was quite a shock.

“The way I look at it is, they have done it to me, who else have they done it to?

“They held a memorial with my sister. [The crematorium worker] has not made a mistake.

“She knew what she was doing. It makes it even worse.”

Haringey Council says it has apologised “unreservedly” to Mr Bowers and his family.”

Lyn Garner, director of place and sustainability, said: “It was wrong that Mr Bowers was given a false set of ashes and the officer who did this, acting alone, has been disciplined.

“As soon as this matter was brought to the council’s attention in late June 2011 an urgent investigation took place.

“Since then we have reviewed our procedures and believe we have as robust a set of arrangements in place as possible.”

Mr Bowers wants to make sure the ashes buried next to his father are given a proper burial rather than be put in the bin after he received a piece of paper which identified what was in the urn as “person unknown”.

He said: “They are telling me that it is rubbish or are they saying that because they do not want to say they have given me someone else’s ashes?”

Latest Stories

This image shows the original design for the Roundhouse, but the new version will keep Amy's trademark beehive [Image by Scott Eaton/The Roundhouse]

First we told you that a statue of Amy Winehouse was coming to Camden, and now we can show you what it will look like!

Read more
12:39
Jonathan Lynn was jailed for attacking six people with acid outside the Lightbox nightclub in Vauxhall (Picture: Metropolitan Police)

A man has been jailed for a ‘vile and disgraceful’ acid attack after he sprayed a noxious liquid over six people outside a Vauxhall nightclub.

Read more
09:44
Who'd have thought you could bed down here for the night? (Photo by Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images)

How do you fancy a sleeping over on the 72nd floor of The Shard?

Read more

Quirky London

Quizzes

I'm only going to say this once: Stand. On. The. Right.

James Bond is Britain’s most famous secret agent, and the capital is its most famous city, so it makes sense that 007 would live and work here when he isn’t gallivanting around the world.

Read more
Can you find the animals hiding in London station names? (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

You may not realise it but there are animals hiding in stations across London? Play our quiz and see if you can you find them:

Read more
Can you guess the Tube station just from the outside? (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

How well do you know your Tube stations? Can you guess these Underground stops from the pictures taken outside them?

Read more