Carer faces problems paying for a funeral


Carer calls for help over funeral plans for old friend

PLEA:  Marie Dibble with a picture of Trevor Portlock.

PLEA: Marie Dibble with a picture of Trevor Portlock.

By freddie whittaker

DISTRAUGHT carer Marie Dibble has made a desperate plea for help to bury a former serviceman.

Marie, 41, faces the heartache of giving Trevor Portlock a “pauper’s funeral” because no-one can afford to pay the bill.

She said her family was very close to the 73-year-old from Barton, who suffered from complications due to asbestos poisoning. He died at the end of last month from chronic pneumonia.

Marie, from Robinswood, said: “He was the godfather to my kids and he used to look after them, he was very good to them.

“We didn’t have to look after him, we did it out of kindness.”

She said there was no money left by Mr Portlock, a former painter and decorator who served in the Army, and she couldn’t afford to pay the bills herself.

Marie, a mum-of-three who lives with husband Darren, in Beaufort Road, said he was out of contact with his remaining family.

“I’m on benefits myself, and there was no money put to one side,” she said.

“I’ve been trying to get somebody to bury him, I’ve been to speak to everyone but nobody can help me. It’s disgusting, he served his country and worked all his life.”

When there is no money or means to hold a funeral for a person who has died, the case can be passed to Gloucester City Council by the coroner or hospital where they died.

If this is the case, a basic funeral is organised by a funeral director sub-contracted by the council and paid for by the taxpayer.

But Marie would not be able to apply for this on Mr Portlock’s behalf. He was divorced and had no children.

She said: “I just don’t know what to do.” There are usually two lots of fees which are the bare minimum when paying for a funeral. These are to reimburse the funeral director who pays for the venue on the loved ones’ behalf and also the fees of the directors themselves.


Martin Cocks, senior partner at SC & BS Cocks Funeral Directors in Hucclecote, said there were ways of getting the state to pay for funerals and cremations.

However, he stressed that bureaucracy and delays made some directors uneasy about working with those relying on a grant.

He said: “If she is on benefits she can apply to the DWP for a grant towards the funeral directors’ fees and the disbursements. However, the problem has been in the past that they are so slow in their decision-making process that many funeral directors have stopped dealing with people who say they are in receipt of a grant.

“The main thing to point out is that funeral directors’ costs aren’t the expensive part.

“However, the disbursements are the expensive part, they are way ahead of inflation.”


7 Responses to Carer faces problems paying for a funeral

  1. kenm says:

    We can hardly afford to live ,now it looks like we can;t afford to die.

  2. Tim says:

    Great stuff isnt it Kenm! NOT!

  3. Lynn Hudson says:

    what about the British Legion or S.S.A.F.A. Worth a try I think.

  4. Jan Barber-Maltby says:

    Have taken this extract from Armchair Advice, available on the Internet. Hope this helps.

    If you are arranging the funeral and are claiming social security benefits such as income support, council tax benefit, jobseekers allowance, working families tax credits or disabled person’s tax credits you may be entitled to help towards the cost of the funeral. This is called a Funeral Payment. It is a £2000 tax free lump sum; if there is any money in the estate the funeral payment will be repaid from this (this does not include any personal belongings that have been left).

    If there are no relatives and no arrangements have been made then the local council has a duty to bury or cremate a person who died in their area.

  5. graham says:

    Taking out a funeral plan is also a very good idea.

    • Lynn Hudson says:

      my husband did that and when he died it was so easy to cope with and not one problem. Trouble is you have to be able to afford it – fat chance of that on Carer’s/Attendance allowances.

    • Lynn Hudson says:

      my husband did that and when he died it proved a boon. No problems whatsoever. Trouble is you have to be able to pay for it. Fat chance of that on Pensions,Carers and Attendance allowances

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.