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The vicar was given a parking ticket while conducting a funeral service
Thursday January 29,2009
By Padraic Flanagan  Have your say(1)
A vicar was given a parking ticket while conducting a funeral service because his disabled driver’s badge was displayed incorrectly.

When churchgoers explained the situation to the traffic warden, he walked away saying: “Tough.”

Father Warwick Whelan, 74, was conducting the funeral of his friend and parishioner Irene Redhead, 78.

There were 300 mourners in attendance at Saint Mary the Virgin church at Torquay, south Devon, when the warden slapped the ticket on the retired Church of England vicar’s car.

Rev Whelan said he was given the £70 ticket because his blue dis­abled parking badge was displayed the wrong way up on the dashboard.

He had parked his Skoda Fabia outside the church and, as a disabled badge holder, should have had up to three hours free parking.

The arthritis sufferer said he will pay the fine because he accepts his badge was displayed incorrectly. The penalty will be reduced to £35 if he pays within 14 days.

He said: “I just wished the parking official lived by the tenet ‘Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the blind obedience of fools’.

“I was a bit miffed. You tend to get upset when you get fined for something of a technicality.

“The warden did not show a great deal of charity but parking charges are not about charity.

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“He could have cut me some slack and used a bit of discretion but perhaps he would have got into trouble if he had done so.

“I must have been pre-occupied with preparing for the funeral because I put the blue badge the wrong way round with the photograph rather then the expiry date facing outwards.”

He said some of those at the funeral had tried to stop the traffic warden from putting the ticket on his car on Tuesday.

Rev Whelan said: “They were very cross about it and went out and told the warden I was taking a funeral inside the church but apparently his only response was to slap a ticket on the windscreen.

“They told me he said it was ‘Tough’ and still issued the ticket.

“I shall pay the ticket because I made a mistake. If I felt wrongly treated I would complain but I am not going to. I will just pay the fine and get on with it.”

A spokesman for Torbay Council said: “We would advise anyone who believes they have been incorrectly issued with a penalty charge to follow our appeals process.

“If and when we receive a challenge in respect of this notice we will consider whether to cancel it, taking into account all the relevant information.”

The council gave a five-year parking contract to a private enforcement firm three years ago.

Estimates show a shortfall on anticipated income of £185,000 on the first three years of the contract but a projected surplus of £300,000 by its finish.

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