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UK News

Church records blamed for family mourning at the wrong grave for 17 years

by Sophie Drew

Gaps in church records are being blamed for a misidentified grave that resulted in the family mourning in the wrong place for 17 years.

It's believed the lack of original records are due to a fire in the late 1970s, in which burglars broke into the church and set the vital documents ablaze.

After a headstone was placed on the wrong grave at Holy Trinity Wingate, in County Durham, the Bell family consistently visited a grave that did not bare the body of their beloved father, Thomas. 

The mistake was only realised when the family went to bury Thomas' wife, Hilda earlier this year. 

The Venerable Bob Cooper, Archdeacon of Sunderland said: "This has been a case of great sadness and the reviewer notes the gracious way that all participants have entered into it.

"It cannot be guaranteed that historic cases like this will not reoccur because there will be gaps in the records (for many reasons) in parishes across the Diocese of Durham and further afield.

"However, going forward, the protocols and recommendations suggested in this report should ensure that from now onwards they do not happen again."

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