‘Graves stripped of everything’

Families in Edlington are upset because they claim the town council are removing items from the graves of their loved ones that are buired in Edlington Cemetery.Pictured is Frances Oliver along with her children Archie(10),Annie(8),Zach(5) alongside the grave of her son Oliver

Families in Edlington are upset because they claim the town council are removing items from the graves of their loved ones that are buired in Edlington Cemetery.Pictured is Frances Oliver along with her children Archie(10),Annie(8),Zach(5) alongside the grave of her son Oliver

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A mum who tragically lost her 12-year-old son to cancer has spoken of her devastation after his grave was stripped of sentimental trinkets and mementoes.

Frances Shaw is among is among dozens of people who have discovered their loved ones’ graves have been cleared by council staff in Edlington Cemetery.

Workers from Edlington Town Council have removed items that do not obey its policies and reportedly put them in the back of a pick-up truck.

Frances, aged 34, who lost her son, Oliver, in 2011 said she is ‘furious’.

She said: “People visiting their loved ones’ graves have found they’ve been stripped of everything.

“I went down to see my son and they have taken one of his Sheffield United gnomes. It doesn’t really make any sense what they’re doing.”

Frances, of Woodfield Plantation, Balby, added: “There are petitions in all the shops which are really filling up.

“These are things we put down for people we love because it’s the closest we can get to them. This is all we can do.”

Moira Malloy lost her husband, James, to cancer just four months ago.

The 50-year-old, of Howbeck Drive, Edlington, said: “My husband has only been dead for four months and he was only 54 when he died.

“You find comfort by putting nice things on the grave. We go there four times a week. The grave is immaculate.

“The day after Father’s Day it started. My kids bought a picket fence for their dad. We put it in on the Sunday and it disappeared, and everything else has disappeared since then.”

A Town Council spokesman said: “The policy is not a new one and it is in line with policies operated by other burial authorities including Doncaster Council.

“Immediately inside the gate of the cemetery is a large notice board informing visitors that no items can be placed on graves without council permission.

“Following a burial the council shows understanding and sensitivity and leaves tributes left at the time of the funeral on the grave for around four to six weeks.

“In recent years the number and range of items placed on graves has increased significantly and now, in addition to traditional floral tributes, include toys, windmills, solar lights, candles, wind charms, balloons ceramics and the latest, cans of beer.

“Various items have been placed on grave surrounds including plastic fencing, boards and metal fencing. Not only does the council consider these inappropriate, they also attract vandals into the cemetery.

“The town council and its staff take immense pride in the cemetery and its appearance and hope that those families who feel aggrieved at this policy will understand the reasoning behind it.”

The council does allow certain items including wooden crosses, headstones or a vase but there is a charge for each item.