Teen left with '˜impossible' funeral bill after mum dies suddenly

A young Blackpool girl has been left with an '˜impossible' £2,200 funeral bill after the tragic death of her mother.

Saturday, 18th March 2017, 1:54 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:00 am
18-year-old student Jade Park has been left to pay for the funeral and outstanding costs of her mother, Kym Jones

Jade Powell was just 18-years-old when she lost her mum, Kym Jones, 44, to a sudden heart attack last month.

As Kym’s only living relative, the responsibility of organising her funeral was left to the former Bispham High pupil, who is a full-time healthcare student at UCLAN.

Jade, who earns £6.10 an hour working part-time at McDonalds, said: “When they told me mum had gone I said ‘where has she gone?’. They told me she had died, but I kept asking where she had gone.

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“I’ve dealt with it better than people thought I would. I made the decision not to see her body after she had died, which I think has helped me to cope.”

Former Bispham High School student Jade used her life savings to pay for her mum’s funeral, which took place at Lytham Crematorium on February 27, but was only able to pay off £1,244 of the £2,294 bill.

As a result, her mum’s ashes remain in the care of funeral directors D. Hollowell and Sons on Lytham Road. Jade will not be able to say goodbye properly until she is able to pay the remaining £1,050.

She said: “They won’t give me the ashes until I’ve paid off the rest of the funeral, which is understandable because there’s a debt to be settled.

“I don’t have any money left. I’m a full-time student and I’m left in the deep end because we didn’t expect my mum to die so suddenly at her age. She didn’t have any savings.

“If I can’t raise the money somehow I’m going to have to use my student loan to pay it off, which is supposed to be for my books and transport.

“I’d like to scatter some of her ashes at the rose garden in Lytham and put the rest in a necklace in memory of her.

“It’s difficult because Mother’s Day is coming up and it would be nice to have her there.

“It feels impossible right now.”

Robert Hollowell, director at D. Hollowell and Sons, said: “It’s a difficult position to be in. We have to be sympathetic as a business but we have outgoings that need to be met.”

The average funeral in the UK costs £3,675, the Money Advice Service said. A direct cremation, where a body is simply collected and burned without a church ceremony, costs around £1,600.

As a full-time student, Jade, who lives on Ventnor Road, is not able to claim financial help from the government’s funeral payment scheme, as the offer is only open to people on a low income who are receiving certain benefits. She said: “I think it’s very unfair.”

Jade’s plight comes just two months after The Gazette revealed a surge in paupers funerals being held in the resort.

The basic, Victorian-style services were held once every three days on average last year - a figure which was blamed on rising funeral costs.

Paul Maynard, the Tory MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, said: “The cost of funerals is becoming an increased burden for those families who unexpectedly find themselves bereaved and don’t have the money to pay for them.”

Jade has now set up an online fund-raiser in the hope of raising enough money to bring her mum home. People can donate at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/con-jad-1.