Burial in Britain's biggest coffin
Thursday, August 9, 2007
A father weighing more than 300kg (50st) has been buried in what could be the biggest coffin ever made in Britain.
Following Mark Bamber's death, his family faced a difficult task – how to bury him with dignity.
A traditionally shaped coffin was impossible, so carpenters crafted a more box-like casket, 2.4m (7ft 11in) tall and 1.4m (4ft 6in) wide.
With the body inside, the solid mahogany box weighed nearly half a tonne.
A burial was the only option for Mr Bamber because the casket was too big for the local crematorium.
Mr Bamber's wife, Nicky, used a horse-drawn carriage to transport her husband to the local cemetery because no hearse could take the load.
Mr Bamber was bedridden for the last eight months of his life.
He died from heart failure on July 28 at the age of 38, after a long battle with his weight. When the father of one began struggling to breathe, paramedics called in firefighters to hoist him out through the bedroom window of his home in Wigan.
After the burial, Mr Bamber's brother, Ray, said: 'Everybody is getting larger. If we can't fix that then we've got to start catering for it, like they do in America.'
Mrs Bamber hoped other families would not face the uphill struggle she did. She said: 'Mark was a very large man and just wasn't helped or catered for in life or now in death.'
Alan Roby, of casket-maker Thorley Smith, said: 'It really was at the very edge of what is dignified. It has got to be the biggest casket ever used in this country.'