Michael Laws from Cleethorpes said he gave “everything I had” to Heavenly Services funeral company and now faces a paupers burial
Image: Michael Laws / MEN Media)
A man has been left facing a pauper’s funeral after he lost all his savings when a funeral firm collapsed.
Michael Laws of Cleethorpes said he gave “everything I had” to the Heavenly Services funeral company to ensure his family wouldn’t have to worry about taking care of his funeral arrangements.
But he has been left £6,000 out of pocket, all his savings, after the firm announced it was going bust, with hundreds of customers told they were unlikely to see their money again.
Michael decided to take out a funeral plan with the Hull-based Heavenly Services after friends recommended the company to him, Grimsby Live reports .
But the company fell into financial trouble in October following the sudden death of its founder and director Simon Woolston with branches in Hull, Bradford, Leeds, Scunthorpe, Grimsby and Bridlington forced to close.
Michael Laws/MEN Media)
Michael, 55, said he paid £6,000 into the funeral service plan on Wednesday, June 23 last year, which included a cremation and for his ashes to be returned to his family.
He said he has tried to get a refund from Heavenly Services but was told that because he paid in cash, he would be unable to recover the amount.
Michael told Grimsby Live: “I feel sick to death. I didn’t want a big fuss and just wanted to sort out my funeral.
“I can no longer afford my own funeral now because I don’t have that sort of money to put by now.
“That was everything I had.
“I have no-one to bury me or burn me. I have absolutely nothing.
“I suffer badly with anxiety and depression. I’m on medication three times a day just to keep me under control.
“They have left me with nothing but sadness and pain. I’ve had to accept it because I have no choice.”
Michael is taking care of his mother who is seriously ill after having two strokes and developing Parkinson’s disease.
The added stress has taken its toll on him and his 77-year-old mother.
He said: “Every time I see my mum, I just tell her that I don’t know what’s happened.
“I don’t want to add any worry to her on top of what she’s already going through.
Michael Laws/MEN Media)
“Mum suffers badly with health issues now along with a couple of strokes. I’m with her three times a day to make sure she’s cared for.
“She doesn’t need this added stress either.
“It’s so difficult because I don’t want to be that person who has a pauper’s funeral because of this funeral service that has left me in the lurch.
“It’s just not right and now I can’t afford to be buried.”
Michael is just one of many customers struggling to get funeral money repaid.
Bernard Skerrett, 77, died in October having contracted Covid-19 as well as suffering from Parkinson’s and an asbestos-related disease.
Nikki McLoughlin, Bernard’s daughter, told Hull Live that her parents had arranged cremation plans back in 2018.
After her father had passed away in October, a woman from Heavenly Services told her they were to ‘cease trading with all the assets being frozen’.
The woman then suggested Nikki should find new funeral directors.
An elderly couple said in October they were “left in limbo” and feared they could lose £5,000 after paying up front for two cremation plans through Heavenly Services.
The couple – 73 and 74 years old – said they had not heard what is happening with their cremation plan and whether they would get a refund.
An insolvency firm last week all but confirmed to Hull Live that customers will not get their money back.
Letters were sent out by insolvency firm Auker Rhodes informing customers Heavenly Services was to enter liquidation.
Auker Rhodes said all company assets would be recovered and sold for the benefit of creditors.
Humberside Police started an investigation in November after confirming they had received complaints from customers who had been affected by Heavenly Services.
They told reporters today that their ‘investigation into these reports continues’.
Grimsby Live has made numerous attempts to contact Heavenly Services for comment.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.