AN elderly woman paid almost £8,000 for her own funeral, but her family are having to find the cash for it themselves after the business closed.

Dorothy Lovell, 82, died last month knowing the money she paid Carr’s Funeral Services in West Road, Shoebury, would not provide for her send-off.

The funeral, arranged by Mrs Lovell last year, included a horse drawn carriage, pipers and a headstone.

Mrs Lovell’s family say she was informed by an employee of the company in January that the £7,905 shehad paid in cash had not been paid to the Funeral Planning Authority, the body responsible for holding the money for pre-paid funeral plans.

Mrs Lovell died at Nazareth Care Home in Southend, on June 30, after a sudden deterioration in her health. Her funeral will be held next Tuesday, but will not be the grand event she had wanted or planned.

Her son David Wallace, 61, of Station Road, approached the business owner, Nicholas Carr, after hearing about his mum’s money, and says he was told it wouldn’t be paid back.

He said: “He told me straight that he wasn’t going to give the money back. He was just obnoxious.”

Daughter Sheila Igoe, 57, of Princes Street, said: “She saved for her funeral because she didn’t want her children to have to pay for it.

“When we toldher she wasn’t going to be able to have the funeral she planned, she just broke down in tears. She wanted to go out in style, but she’s not going to get that now.

“We’ve all been left in the lurch. We’re absolutely devastated.”

Mrs Igoe said the funeral next week is going to cost just under £4,000, and the family still don’t know how they’re going to manage to pay for it.

Mr Carr left his premises in Shoebury at the beginning of the year.

The Echo tried to contact him, but he was unavailable.