A man was shocked to find his own gave at a cemetery, despite being very much alive. Alan Hattel said he was worried by the fact nobody had phoned him in three or four months, and couldn’t figure out why. Now he believes people think he died – and wants them to know the truth. He blames his ex-wife for putting the gravestone there, though admits he cannot be certain.
Alan, 75, a retired welder from Forfar, Tayside, said: ‘My phone hasn’t rung for three or four months. I’ve been confused by it all but now I know why nobody has been calling. ‘I don’t even want to be buried – I plan to be cremated.’
He declared: ‘I’m still alive’, as he stood beside his headstone and said reports of his death had been greatly exaggerated. Mr Hattel said he had realised something was not right because his social life has been deathly quiet for the past three or four months.
The headstone was erected at Newmonthill Cemetery in Forfar. He says it was done without his knowledge and the whole thing was ‘like something out of Only Fools and Horses’. He has also spoken to Angus Council officials and plans to put a cover over the headstone which bears his name.
The 75-year-old, who spent 37 years as a welder before retiring, claimed his ex-wife has bought the plot of land and put up the headstone with the intention of them being buried together.
Both their names appear on the headstone. ‘I’ve never, ever said I wanted to be buried alongside my ex-wife,’ said Mr Hattel, who has two grown-up children with his former spouse
‘We’ve been separated 26 years and there’s no animosity but I’m struggling to take it all in. ‘To find out you have a gravestone in a cemetery while you are still alive isn’t something that happens every day.’
A family member at Mrs Hattel’s home said: ‘This is a family matter being dealt with privately.’ Angus Council said it was unable to discuss the issue or disclose any information about who purchased the plot.