Hemsby council defends itself over Frank Jackson burial

A PARISH council has launched a robust defence of its handling of a controversy over a Hemsby resident who was initially refused burial in the village.

Shirley Weymouth, clerk of Hemsby Parish Council, said the uncertainty over whether Korean War veteran Frank Jackson could be buried in the village stemmed from whether Belle Aire chalet park, where he lived, was classified as a holiday park or permanent residence.

She said on two previous occasions, residents at the Beach Road chalet park had been refused a plot at the parish council-owned Hemsby cemetery.

At a parish council meeting on Monday, she also defended the council over allegations the council’s slow response to Vera Jackson’s request for her husband to be buried in the village had delayed the funeral.

Mrs Weymouth said the undertakers had his funeral booked for January 20 and the council agreed to his burial at a meeting on January 17. But she said the meeting could not be held earlier as the council had written to the borough council’s solicitor, for legal advice on whether the burial could go ahead.

However, as he was away over the Christmas period he was not able to advise them until January 10 and the parish council’s standing orders required seven days notice for a meeting to be called, meaning it could not take place until January 17.

Parish councillors at last Monday’s meeting also heard that Hemsby rector Father Adrian Ling had previously written asking for clarification on its burial policy.

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Mrs Weymouth told the meeting if a person to be buried did not live in a permanent property, and an application had been made by relatives, she would call the council’s chairman Bob Reynolds for advice.

Many of the councillors on Monday said they had supported Mrs Jackson’s request.

Keith Kyriacou said: “They would have got what they wanted because we would have agreed it on compassionate grounds, not because of his involvement with the war.”

Mr Jackson died, aged 78, on December 23, having lived at the chalet park since 2003 and the British Korean Veterans Association supported Mrs Jackson’s request.

Two parish councillors resigned in the wake of the furore, Lyndon Bevan and Jane Mercer.