The family of a UK man who recently died of a heart attack has described the "devastating" moment they were forced to separate at his funeral as they comforted each other, despite having lived in the same bubble for the past fortnight.
Milton Keynes man Alan Wright died two weeks ago. His funeral was held on Friday, but his family says it was "heartbreaking" when a man burst into the room to interrupt the service to stop them from comforting each other, a moment that was caught on video and shared widely on social media.
"It was already the hardest day of our lives and for something like that to happen was just heartbreaking," said Wright's son Paul Bicknell. "We were met with such aggression and all we wanted to do was to comfort our mother at this horrible time," Bicknell told ITV News.
The funeral video shows a small, socially distanced-crowd in attendance at the service. Mid-way through, Bicknell and his brother, Craig Bicknell, moved their chairs over to their mum, 71-year-old Barbara Wright, to comfort her. The three had been living in the same bubble since Alan's death.
A local council worker is then seen sprinting into the service insisting they stick to social distancing guidelines. In the UK, 30 people are currently allowed at funerals but Government restrictions say people must remain socially distanced.
People can attend restaurants, however, in groups of no more than six.
"We know this is the new way of living and that there are new rules we all have to adhere to but you can't just sit back and watch when someone you love is breaking down," Craig Bicknell told ITV. "We have to learn to live with this new reality but it was hard to make sense of the rules when we knew we could sit next to our mum in a restaurant or in a limousine on the way to the funeral."
The Milton Keynes Council, which operates the Crownhill Crematorium where the incident happened, has since apologised.
"We are sorry to have upset this family," a council spokesperson told ITV. "We don't usually step in if a guest needs to be comforted by another family member and in this instance should have taken a more considered approach."
Alan's family has described him as a "true battler" and are glad the council changed its attitude for future funerals.
"I will miss his smile, his wit," wife Barbara told The Sun. "He was my soul mate."