Daughter ‘devastated’ after ‘wrong name’ on dad’s gravestone

A grieving daughter was left in tears at her father's graveside after finding a funeral company had botched his name on the headstone.

Michelle McPartland, 48, of Widnes, was "devastated" to discover that instead of "Edward (Eddie) McPartland" engraved as requested, Co-op Funeralcare had etched it as " ‘Eddie’ Edward".

She had asked for "Eddie", as his friends knew him, to be inserted in brackets if it would fit, but when told it had to be one form of his first name or the other, Michelle asked for "Edward".

The heartbreak caused even more hurt as the plot is shared with Eddie’s daughter – Michelle’s sister – Tracy McPartland who died aged just 16 years old in a tragic road traffic collision in 1989.

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Edward’s parents Edith and Patrick are buried in the neighbouring plot and a memorial bench dedicated to Edward and Tracy overlooks the lovingly tended graves.

Michelle, who said she visits the grave every day, also discovered the headstone has also been chipped and scuffed.

Michelle McPartland with her father Edward 'Eddie' McPartland before he passed away last year. Michelle was his carer during his final six months.

She said the naming blunder has hit hard because she was looking forward to showing her bedridden mother a picture of the engraving which was completed alongside a wedding photograph of Edward and Elaine fitted at the same time.

Edward died in August last year aged 75, and Michelle had hoped the headstone to be fitted in February, but it was delayed and then lockdown postponed the work further.

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Michelle said she then asked for it to be done in time for Father’s Day on June 21, and failing that then in time for Edward’s birthday on July 1.

Its completion arrived in time for neither and her anticipation was finally dashed yesterday (July 28) when she was left distraught at discovering the gaffe.

She told the ECHO: “I visit every day, I come every day because my sister’s in here as well.

“And before lockdown I paid for the photo to go on.

The plot is of extra poignancy to the McPartland family as Michelle's sister – Edward's daughter – Tracy McPartland is also buried there. Tracy died aged 16 in 1989.

“I asked for a double, to have for when my mum passes and she (the lady at Co-op Funeralcare) said that’s fine.

“It’s supposed to have gone on before lockdown, it never went on.”

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She added: “Before Father’s Day they lifted the restrictions, I asked if it would be on.

“She said ‘I’m not promising anything but I’ll try my best and it wasn’t on.

“I said it’ll be his birthday soon, and she it should and it wasn’t on.

Edward and Elaine McPartland, of Widnes, on their wedding day.

“I said it’s nearly a year anniversary (since he died), you’ve got to get it on.

“When I’ve come up today I’ve seen that and I’m fuming.

“It’s bad enough you’ve lost someone and you have to put up with that as well.”

Edward McPartland and his daughter Tracy who died tragically young at the age of 16 are buried next to Edward's parents Edith and Patrick on the left.

Asked how she felt, Michelle said: “Devastated.

“It’s hard enough losing my dad as it is.

“To come up and see that, it’s broke my heart.”

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A Co-op Funeralcare spokeswoman said: “We are sorry to hear about the concerns raised by Miss McPartland and for any distress caused to the family. Our colleagues always strive to give families the best possible service at a time of great sadness and loss.

"We received a formal complaint yesterday (28 July) and are currently investigating the matter as a priority. We remain in contact with Miss McPartland and one of our colleagues will be apologising in person to ensure that this issue is resolved quickly.”