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Home Sheerness News Article
The Diocese of Canterbury has apologised unreservedly to a widow after one of its lay preachers arrived late and ill-prepared for her husband's funeral.
Carol Nowlan and 40 family and friends were expecting lay reader Ken Jones, who holds a bishop's licence as a non-ordained church leader for West Sheppey, to take her late husband Terry's service.
But after 20 minutes, he had still not arrived at the Garden of England Crematorium, Bobbing, and they were forced to come up with another option.
Mr Nowlan's brother Howard, who had travelled from Portsmouth, is also a lay preacher and offered to instead do the service, which he put together in 10 minutes.
Mr Jones turned up as it was about to start, but Mrs Nowlan, of Alexandra Road, Sheerness, said he had no order of service or the eulogy they had put together so it was conducted without him on Monday afternoon.
She wrote to the Diocese of Canterbury to complain and received an apology as well as a letter from the Bishop of Dover, the Rt Rev Trevor Willmott.
Mr Jones also apologised personally to her and sent the family flowers.
The mother-of-two said she understood people make mistakes, but wanted to highlight what had happened in the hope of preventing another family going through the same ordeal.
The 65-year-old said: "In my hour of real distress, I had to try and remember and tell everybody what I had written for the eulogy.
"It's a very important service and the last thing you ever do for the person you love and you want it to be perfect..." - Carol Nowlan
"I feel disgusted, angry and really upset.
"To my mind, it's a very important service and the last thing you ever do for the person you love and you want it to be perfect.
"If it hadn't been for Howard, he would have had no service.
"I accept mistakes do happen, but it's a very important time and that sort of mistake shouldn't happen.
"I wouldn't want any other family to go through what we did."
A spokesman for the Diocese of Canterbury said: "Mr Jones has apologised unreservedly to Mrs Nowlan for the mistake he made.
"He has expressed his deepest regret that he let the family down at this most important and sensitive moment, a mistake that will stay with him for years to come.
"Bishop of Dover, the Rt Rev Trevor Willmott, has written personally to Mrs Nowlan to acknowledge her pain and frustration and to apologise on behalf of the Diocese for this failure of care.
"The mistake, which was a case of a deeply unfortunate human error, is being investigated by the Diocese and steps and training will be put in place to prevent it from happening again."
Mr Nowlan, who had heart disease, died on Monday, February 17 aged 66.
The painter and decorator leaves two children - Anthony, 43, and 42-year-old Robert.
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