Mother's plot 'double booked'

A plot in which Bernadette's ashes were buried was ‘‘double booked’’ and  had to be moved. Pictures: KIRK GILMOUR

A plot in which Bernadette's ashes were buried was ‘‘double booked’’ and had to be moved. Pictures: KIRK GILMOUR

Saying goodbye to his mother was hard enough for Dapto's Jamie Venters; now an administrative mix-up by Wollongong City Council has forced him to relive the pain.

On Thursday morning, Mr Venters and long-term partner Kylie Jeffs wept at Wollongong City Memorial Gardens beside the plot of Bernadette, which had been moved from its original site.

The pair received a phone call from staff on Wednesday telling them the plot in which his mother's ashes were buried in January had been double booked.

"They told us they had 24 hours to move her left or right," Mr Venters said.

When the pair arrived at the memorial gardens at 9.30am on Thursday, staff had already moved the ashes to an adjoining plot in a shared rose garden.

Dapto man Jamie Venters and his partner, Kylie Jeffs.

Dapto man Jamie Venters and his partner, Kylie Jeffs.

"I am absolutely disgusted that Mum had to be moved in the first place," Mr Venters said.

"And I'm really hurt that they moved her without us being here. I would've liked to have witnessed it."

Mr Venters said the whole experience had been traumatic for him and Ms Jeffs, who were very close to Mrs Venters, who died in November, aged 55, following a heart attack.

He said his mother's ashes were placed at the Unanderra gardens because it was near their Dapto home and the grounds were well kept and pretty.

"We chose plot 88 for her because that number symbolises infinity," an emotional Ms Jeffs said.

Mr Venters said the ordeal had left the family shattered.

"It was hard enough to deal with her death and then say goodbye to her," he said. "But to say goodbye again has been horrible."

Wollongong City Council commercial business manager Jenny Towers confirmed that staff moved the remains of Mrs Venters because of a mix-up with the booking of a particular site.

"Council has apologised to the members of the Venters family for this booking."

Staff had spoken to the family's nominated spokesperson who had agreed to the movement and the timing, she said.

"Council staff asked if the time was suitable and if members of the family would like to be present. The nominated member of the Venters family accepted the timing and stated that no member need be present."

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