Council slammed over grave ‘vandalism’

GRAVE ROBBERS: Scene of Doncaster Council's "raid".
GRAVE ROBBERS: Scene of Doncaster Council's "raid".

A MEXBOROUGH pensioner has slammed cemetery workers as insensitive after they removed gravel and flowerpots from his wife’s memorial over Christmas.

Roy Parkin, 82 was upset to find two flowerpots and chippings he had placed around his late wife Margaret’s cremation memorial in Mexborough Cemetery had been removed without his knowledge.

Mr Parkin, of Harlington Road said: “I placed flowers from me and a wreath from my son on Margaret’s memorial before Christmas. When we visited the grave on Boxing Day, it was so bad my son thought it had been attacked by vandals.

“They had swept everything away, stripping round all the plinths to their concrete bases. It looked as barren as can be. Wreaths and flowers that other people had brought, had been removed as well.

“Most people put narrow vases at the back for taller flowers and chippings on the front. The tablets have a hole in them, for pots but they are only four or five inches deep. On Margaret’s they had pulled the flowers out of the pot – and the top with it.”

Mr Parkin has lovingly tended the memorial since Margaret died from cancer four years ago. The couple had just celebrated 50 years of marriage.

He added: “I just want them to apply some common sense. I can understand they are trying to keep it tidy – it is the impersonal way they are doing it. There was no warning sign up – they should give people notice. If there are objections, they should consider them. They have just gone about it without any feeling.

“I know they are running out of space in the cemetery and need to keep things clean and tidy, but what’s next – are they going to give us all an urn?”

Doncaster Council’s Director of Regeneration and Environment, Peter Dale said: “It is essential that our sites are safe places, as we have a responsibility to look after the well-being of everyone who uses them.

“While we appreciate the loss of a loved one is a sensitive and emotional time for people, there are certain guidelines in place for the good of every-one visiting these sites, which we need to uphold.

“In July 2010 we placed notices in all of our cemeteries and crematorium grounds, reminding relatives of the policy regarding memorabilia and to raise awareness that items which are not permitted would be removed by November. In October we used the local media to remind families of this once again.

“Our regulations are sent out to relatives with every burial or interment of cremated remains that takes place, so families are made fully aware of what is and is not permitted.”