Couple devastated by heartless crematorium.jpg

Couple devastated by heartless crematorium


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A FAMILY in mourning was left shattered after arriving at a Lisbon crematorium 10 minutes late to find that their beloved relative had already been cremated.

Following a five-year-long battle with cancer, long-time Algarve resident Lillian Turner passed away a few weeks ago. Her final wishes were that she should be cremated in Lisbon at the Alto de São João Cemetery, where her late husband had been cremated six years ago.

Friends and family from the UK travelled to the Algarve to join Lillian’s stepson, Michael, and his wife Suzy to say goodbye to Lillian.

Her two sisters, Shirley and Evelyn, and Evelyn’s husband Fred flew over along with Lillian’s niece, Ann, and two best friends from the UK, Chris and George. Suzy’s father Brian, who was a close friend of Lillian, also attended.

Family members and friends set off for Lisbon early in the morning, giving

Lillian Turner
Lillian Turner

themselves plenty of time to arrive for the midday service.

Unfortunately, due to numerous red traffic lights and the inevitable getting lost in Lisbon, they realised they would be late.


The funeral agency in Portimão dealing with the transport of Lillian’s body called them to ask where they were as the hearse had arrived at the crematorium. Suzy told him they were delayed and he said the cemetery didn’t like to run late but he would try and stall them.

Suzy told The Resident: “We managed to get there at 10 minutes past 12, only to be told Lillian had already been cremated. We were devastated.”

She said that they assumed there must have been other cremations scheduled for soon after midday, which is why this occurred.

“But imagine our shock when we entered the crematorium to discover that there were no others cremations taking place,” she said.

According to the Portimão funeral home that had tried to stall the crematorium, this situation is not uncommon.

“They have a schedule to keep,” said a spokesman, “and will rarely wait five or 10 minutes, even if families are travelling hundreds of kilometres to say goodbye to their loved one.”

Suzy said: “Why they could not have waited just a few moments more, we will never know. But we are disgusted and saddened by this apparent heartlessness of the staff at the crematorium.”

The director of the crematorium refused to comment about this individual case but did say that there is a cremation every two hours and these times must be adhered to. He added that most people were aware of this time pressure.

“In the sad event that any other readers may have to go to the Lisbon crematorium in the near future, make sure you give yourselves plenty of time”, said Suzy, adding: “We would hate to know that other families may go through the same disturbing experience.”

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