Anonymous donor offers to pay for Oxford man's funeral

Michael Walton Michael Walton said he felt "depressed, sad and lonely", at not being able to bury his brother

An anonymous donor has come forward to help a man meet the funeral costs of burying his brother.

Michael Walton's brother David died on 31 August but the Oxford resident said he could not afford the upfront £480 deposit to secure a burial date.

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) offers a funeral grant but only if an invoice is produced which some undertakers are unwilling to supply.

Unemployed Mr Walton said it was a "big relief" to lay his brother to rest.

He added: "It's taken a lot off my shoulders, I can't thank him enough.

'Tip of iceberg'

"It's a big relief to know that I am able to bury my brother now. I'm so grateful."

Labour's Oxford East MP Andrew Smith said he had written to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Oxford undertakers about the issue.

He has criticised what he said were requests from undertakers for upfront payments of up to £1,250.

The Rose Hill and Donnington Advice Centre said cases like Mr Walton's were the "tip of the iceberg" and even people who were better-off financially were having to take out high-interest loans to pay for funeral costs.

But Dominic McGuire, of the National Association of Funeral Directors, said that the system was fair and if a family pulled out of a burial date the funeral director would still be liable for the costs incurred.

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