Row over £100 donation to Sheffield church after man's low-cost funeral service

A low-cost funeral service has been asked to donate £100 to a Sheffield church after a minister claimed they charged a dead man’s family for her services despite not paying her.

Friday, 24th January 2020, 12:00 pm
Updated Friday, 24th January 2020, 1:40 pm

Lay minister Julia Hodson, aged 76, has been providing funerals to friends and family for the last 30 years, but often asks for a donation to her church rather than charging a fee.

However, after she ministered at the funeral service in June, Memoria Low Cost Funerals sent a bill to the family which included a charge for a minister despite neither Julia nor her church seeing a penny.

The funeral home say this bill was sent out in error, but Julia is now calling on them to make a £100 donation to her church - Hampden View WR Church in Hillsborough - and warning others to make sure they get everything they pay when they arrange one.

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Grenoside Crematorium.

“I don’t think we’re going to get a penny but I think it is a rip off,” she said.

“I spoke to the manager and they said it was a cheap funeral. I said if we didn’t get the donation I would go to the press.”

The funeral Julia ministered at was for a Sheffield man in his 60s named John Jones, and took place at Grenoside Crematorium last June.

He had died suddenly just a year after his wife, and her family were left with the responsibility of making the arrangments for his cremation.

Memoria Low Cost Funerals - a provider based in Oxfordshire - initially charged the family a total of £1,850, saying this would cover the collection of the body, and the cost of a coffin, the crematorium, a minister and the ashes.

However, they later said that the package they had sold Mr Jones’ family did not in fact cover the cost of someone to conduct the service.

Julia said: “It is a really difficult time when you lose a family member. You are at your lowest ebb.

“I just want people to make absolutely sure what they are getting for their money.”

Paul Reed, managing director of Memoria LCF, said: “Memoria Low Cost Funeral Limited are committed to delivering the highest standards of service and facility to our clients. We are independently rated by our clients as 5-star on Trustpilot and indeed we attract the highest rating of any funeral company in the industry.

“We have looked into the issue in question and found that the client was correctly advised of all charges at the time of the arrangement, all of our clients are informed of what is and more importantly what is not included in our fixed price funeral packages, details of which are displayed clearly on our website.

“However we acknowledge that the client in this case was inadvertently sent a document which contained an administrative error stating a Minister was included in the package. Upon noticing the error we immediately contacted the client to inform them of this and issued replacement documents with the correct information contained.

“The client accepted our explanation and did not raise a complaint themselves about the matter but stated instead that they did not require us to provide a Minister anyway as they had a friend who was willing to conduct the service free of charge.

“We were subsequently contacted privately and independently of the family by the Minister who conducted the service. The Minister themselves demanded that despite the fact we had not charged the client a fee for a Minister to conduct the service and indeed they themselves had stated they were conducting the service for the family free of charge, they felt that in their opinion we should be obliged to make a donation to a church of the Minister’s choosing due to a clerical error in the initial document provided.

“As a gesture of goodwill we have decided to make a donation of £100 to the church however we maintain that the client was advised correctly at the point of making the funeral arrangement, our website states clearly what is and what is not included in our packages and the client themselves raised no complaint about the matter which was raised entirely independently by the Minister.”