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A heartbroken family has revealed that they have been visiting the wrong grave of their father for more than four decades. 

In 1979, Sylvia Ross, 67, buried her father John Thomas Thompson at Witton Park Cemetery in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, UK. 


Since then she has often visited the deceased and delivered flowers to mark his birthday, Christmas Day and Father’s Day. 


She was shocked when she received news that the grave she has been visiting for the last 40 years is that of a complete stranger named Fredrick Brown while her father was lying near by in an unmarked grave. 

Lynette, 42, who is Sylvia’s daughter told the Sun UK that ‘She’s heartbroken as she says her dad has laid there thinking not one of us cared about him, with no flowers and no visits, nothing.’


She added: ‘We’re disgusted, and my mum is heartbroken.’


‘I never met my grandad, but my mam has been visiting his grave for 43 years and is utterly devastated.’


The error about the burial location was discovered when Brown’s family reached out to the Durham County County in regards to putting up a memorial on their double plot. 


The cemetery was under the management of Wear Valley District Council when John was buried in 1979 but was later handed over to Durham County Council in 2009.


‘When my grandad died, mam called the council to ask them to put a marker where he had been buried so she knew which plot she was going to, Lynette explained.


‘They put it on the plot we’ve been visiting my whole life and have taken flowers to every birthday, Christmas, and Father’s Day while he has actually laid there with nothing.


‘It’s just disgusting, how can they get something so simple so wrong.’


‘We are sorry for the distress this error has caused the family,” said Graham Harrison, Durham County Council’s bereavement services manager. 

‘At the time, the cemetery would have been managed by Wear Valley District Council.

‘Once we were made aware of the historic mistake, we carefully moved the items to the correct grave within the quickest possible time scale.

‘Although the grave has now been corrected, this does not take away from the pain the family has experienced, and we would like to reiterate our sincerest apologies for any hurt that has been caused.’


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