THE family of a Barry man who passed away earlier this month have spoken of the difficulties they have experienced in trying to deal with grief and planning a funeral amid the coronavirus lockdown.

Richie Jones had been diagnosed with prostate cancer last year and lost his battle with the illness on March 22. He was 83 years old.

After many years in different sales roles, Mr Jones settled down and spent his last 12 working years as a driver/porter at Barry College. He became a friend to students, admin staff and lecturers alike and was included in college reunions twice a year.

As well as the obvious emotional burden of having to deal with Mr Jones' passing, his family have also had to face further uncertainty in trying to organise a fitting send-off.

In line with Government guidance, the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) recommend that funeral services consider limiting attendees to members of the immediate family who are not in any of the high-risk categories and are not self-isolating. The immediate family being: spouse/partner; parents/carers; brothers/sisters; children (and partners).

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"Since my Dad's passing the rules on an open funeral at the cemetery have tightened," said Mr Jones' son Rob.

"At first we were going to be allowed mourners at the graveside but that has since changed to 10 members of the family.

"Once at the graveside no hymns will be sung and everyone will have to ensure they are at a safe distance.

"There will be no farewell drink on the day of the funeral but the family plan is to hold a celebration at a later date with the help of Barry Town Football club."

More than a week later the family have not been able to register Mr Jones' death with the council due to new protocols surrounding face-to-face meetings.

In a statement on their website, NAFD said: "Funerals should be arranged over the phone or via other electronic means, wherever possible.

"If a funeral must be arranged in person, please respect the social distancing guidance.

"It is vital that we do all we can to reduce the spread of the virus and that funeral service employees (who are key workers) can remain healthy and able to continue supporting bereaved families. "

Rob said that the hardest part throughout the process was seeing his mother grieve and not being able to hold her or "give her a big hug".

"Reassuring words are fine but there is nothing like a big hug," he said

However, messages of support have been flooding through the letterbox of Rob's mother Barbara.

"Many of them have been improvised as people are self isolating," he said.