Owston Ferry Cemetery headstones to be put back

NEWS: News.
NEWS: News.

HEADSTONES in an Isle cemetery look set to finally be put back in place.

Officials at Owston Ferry Parish Council had to take down a number of memorials at the graveyard site which it runs in Epworth Road.

It followed concerns which were raised over the safety of some of the stones by officials from the Health and Safety Executive.

They have been on their side for around two years, since the concerns were first raised.

But now the local authority is taking its first steps towards returning them to their former glory by putting out a bid for tenders from companies who feel they can do the work to make them safe again.

Parish clerk David Bailey said it was hoped that the memorials would be back in place early in the next financial year.

That would mean the work is likely to be carried out early in May.

He said: “We have been trying to get some money together so that the parish council can put the stones back up.

“The council has to go through a tender process before we can go ahead with anything.

“We expect the work to be carried out during the financial year.”

Owston Ferry is not the first council to face problems with unsafe headstones.

Councils across the country are required by the Health and Safety Executive to carry out a rolling programme of headstone safety inspection.

Safety technicians carry out an inspection of each headstone or memorial, looking for damage, breaks, leaning and so on.

A stability test is undertaken to check whether the headstone is stable.

Where aheadstone or memorial is found to be unsafe, work is carried out to make it safe, usually by laying the stone down to prevent the risk of injury to members of the public.

According to the National Association of Cemetery Friends, it is not always the oldest monuments which cause the problems.

A spokesman for the organisation said in some cases there were problems with headstones placed within the last 30 years.