Leeds couple fear they won’t be laid to rest near family

BURIAL CONCERNS: Harry Bedford at his home at Commercial Street, Rothwell, Leeds.
BURIAL CONCERNS: Harry Bedford at his home at Commercial Street, Rothwell, Leeds.
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An elderly Leeds couple fear they may not get their final wish of being laid to rest together in their home town.

Harry and Dorothy Bedford, who have lived together in Rothwell since 1968, want their ashes to be buried together in the suburb so tried to reserve a cremation plot at Rothwell Cemetery, off Haigh Road.

Despite there being burial spaces available, the 77-year-olds were turned away by Leeds City Council’s bereavement services and told that bookings cannot be made as there is only a five-year supply of plots in Rothwell.

The council cited that allowing reservations is “not always practical” and can result in cemeteries closing early while visually having unused spaces, which can be “frustrating for relatives” who need immediate plots.

Harry, who worked as a council caretaker for 20 years, told the YEP: “They said ‘you can go anywhere other than Rothwell’ but all our family lives in Rothwell.

“It’s not much to ask to be buried in your home town. We are not asking for it for nothing, we’re willing to pay the going price.”

Having been asked to consider other sites, he fears they may be laid to rest outside Rothwell.

Coun Stewart Golton (Lib Dem, Rothwell) said: “This elderly couple are planning ahead and should be encouraged, not treated as an inconvenience to the council’s strategy.”

It is understood that Rothwell Cemetery cannot be expanded as it is surrounded by housing and roads on all sides, while surveys on nearby land have so far failed to find suitable alternatives.

A council spokeswoman said: “Wherever possible we are looking to extend existing cemeteries which are reaching near capacity and or seeking alternative land for burial purposes which forms part of the council’s 50-year burial strategy.”

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