Disgust over parking fines handed to mourners at funeral
This is Grimsby
Tuesday, April 12, 2011, 09:00
FURIOUS mourners were left stunned when they were handed £70 parking fines at the funeral of a 24-year-old relative.
Four cars were parked on the grass verge in front of the car park at Grimsby Crematorium, away from the yellow lines on Weelsby Avenue, but each were still hit with a fine.
The recipients are vowing to contest the charges, with one declaring: "I would rather go to prison than pay that."
North East Lincolnshire Council has admitted the four tickets should not have been handed out – as it is revealed that more than 1,000 disgruntled motorists have successfully appealed against their fines.
Val Gautby, 71, of Chichester Road, Cleethorpes, was fined while attending the funeral of her daughter's nephew, Daniel Stocks, who lost a 20-year battle to leukaemia, as reported.
She believes the parking wardens responsible should be more considerate.
"They need to be taught about diplomacy and consideration," she said.
"I was at a funeral; it is the last place I want to be especially after a young lad has gone through such a lot.
"I don't want it to become a witch hunt or for the person responsible to lose their job but I think whoever it was should be reprimanded.
"The council should set up a scheme to teach them diplomacy for a start."
Mrs Gautby, who has been driving for about 50 years, said the car park at the crematorium was already full when she arrived, and the hearse was behind her so she parked on a grass verge.
"I parked off the road away from the double yellow lines," she said. "I had to go there because the car park was full, and the hearse was coming.
"I had just been at the funeral where I was upset that a young man had passed away and when I came out I could see the yellow envelope on my car.
"I couldn't believe it, it was so insensitive."
Both her grandson and son-in-law were pall bearers at the well-attended service.
Jason Longhurst, assistant executive director for planning, transportation and housing at the council, said: "The issuing of penalty notices to mourners at this funeral is totally unacceptable. Compassion and common sense must prevail.
"Anyone who feels they have wrongly been issued a ticket should follow our informal challenge process which allows us to take these special circumstances into account."
Val's ticket, which was issued 20 minutes after the start of the funeral, stated she had "parked in a restricted street during prescribed hours".
Although the £70 fine will be reduced to £35 if paid within 28 days, she said she will not be paying it.
She said: "There is no way I will pay a penny. I have written to the council to tell them of my intentions."
Daniel's grandmother, Pat Stocks, also parked on the grass verge and was given a ticket.
She said: "It was my grandson's funeral service at the crematorium with about 150 people there to show their respects from all parts of England.
"It was obviously a very sad day for us all but it went as well as one would expect until we went back to the car park afterwards to find that a parking warden had, while we were in the crematorium, given four people parking tickets.
"They were obviously nowhere to be seen. I became so distraught and upset I couldn't believe it.
"I have read in recent weeks about the behaviour of some of these wardens, but this takes the biscuit.
"I felt so guilty that I was apologising to everyone who attended the service."
Councillors Cliff Barber, Peggy Elliott and Chris Shaw have stepped in to help the recipients.
"I am disgusted at what has happened and will be taking it further," said Mr Barber.
"There are people who park incorrectly and dangerously and try to abuse the system – that deserves a ticket.
"But there are times when just that little bit of common sense prevails."