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‘I’m still alive’ declares Angus man after discovering his own grave in cemetery

A Tayside man has told of the moment he discovered his own grave in a cemetery.

Alan Hattel, from Forfar, 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.

Video on this story is above this article

Alan Hattel beside the gravestone in the cemetery.

He said he now knows the reason his phone has not been ringing is because people have been under the impression he was dead.

Mr Hattel said the erection of his headstone in Newmonthill Cemetery in Forfar was done without his knowledge and the whole affair was “like something out of Only Fools and Horses”.

Now, he wants to set the record straight and let people know he is very much alive.

He has also spoken to Angus Council officials and plans to put a cover over the headstone which bears his name.

The headstone.

He said: “People think that I’m dead.

“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 has put the blame for the headstone at the door of his ex-wife, from whom he separated some 26 years ago.

Alan Hattel.
Mr Hattel.

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.”

Newtonthill Cemetery, Forfar.

The Courier visited Mrs Hattel’s home to ask about the claims being made by her former partner but attempts to speak to her were unsuccessful.

A family member later told The Courier: “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 as it was a confidential matter.

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