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‘It’s not scaremongering’ – Funeral director in Covid-19 warning to Welsh community

18 Dec 2020 3 minute read
Flowers at a funeral

A funeral director has warned his community that Covid-19 is “real” and “not scaremongering” in response to those playing down its impact.

Gareth Watts of Owen E. Jones & Co Ltd funeral directors in Bridgend said that he wanted to highlight the situation the community was in.

Bridgend County Borough recently became the third-highest area in Wales for positive coronavirus cases with a rate of around 700 cases per 100,000.

“Having spent over 30 years being part of a family-run service that supports people through some of the most difficult times of their lives, I make absolutely no apologies for highlighting the situation our communities find ourselves in right now,” Gareth Watts said in a Facebook post.

“I, personally, have done my very best to help those bereaved through miscarriage, still born, infant deaths, teenage tragedies through murder, suicide and cancer, car accident tragedies, heart disease, adult illness, sudden deaths and many other situations.

“We support the community we live in. The British Legion, children’s sports clubs, teenagers with difficult circumstances through no fault of their own, cancer charities, local rugby clubs, male voice choirs, ladies choirs, children’s choir, local operatic society, our NHS, local Dementia Group, BRAG and many others and we put ourselves on the front line selflessly every single day which often means disruption to our own family life.

“So when you see a post from me asking for people to follow the guidelines and try to do the right thing, it’s not for my benefit, it’s because we all want our family to be around in three, four, five or six months time.

“I’m not scaremongering!! This virus is very real. If only you could see it.”


‘Very difficult’

On Wednesday Huw David, leader of Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC), warned that the covid situation was “quickly becoming dire” in the area.

He said front-line staff is being redeployed and that key council services are at risk because of rising cases in the area.Bridgend County Borough recently became the third-highest area in Wales for positive coronavirus cases with a rate of around 700 cases per 100,000.

Cllr David said the area has gone from being “one of the most improved local authorities in Wales” to “the third-highest area for positive cases of Covid-19 in the country”.

During a meeting held today, he told councillors: “Staff are already working flat out to provide vital services in very difficult circumstances.

“Any further reduction in our workforce will have a major impact on or ability to do so.”

Due to pressures on council staff, the local authority is working to identify which services will need to be “cut back and reduced”.

“These are definitions of emergency as defined by the Civil Contingencies Act and this is the first time in its history that this council has had to seriously consider such radical actions.

“This clearly indicates the level of crisis that we are in the process of responding to.”

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