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Anger At Cemetery Safety Tests

The times I have scrambled over dense vegatation covered headstones, searching for my long lost relatives. I have had a few mishaps, trips and falls, but nothing to really be worried about. Mostly It has angered me to see how the cemetarys have been left overgrown and neglected.

For some time now, the local council authorities around the country have been going health & saftey mad. Here's another to add to the long list.

In Gedling Borough Council, Nottinghamshire; they are actually going round and testing each headstone and if any fail the test, large wooden stakes are driven into the ground on either side of the headstone, which is then held in place with these stakes.

It looks absolutely ugly. Even more, as I understand, none of the deceased family members have been told of the decision to "stake" the headstones. Imagine turning up to a family grave to see all these stakes! Unbelievable!

My personal answer is that the stone masons must add some sort of internal metal stake, which firmly achors the headstone to the ground, which goes inside the headstone.

Read the following story. If you have any comments, please post in the forum.

 Anger At Cemetery Safety Tests – contd
RELATIVES of people buried in a Notts cemetery have been told they must pay £150 to have headstones reset.

If they do not pay up, the stones will be sunk in to the ground by a third of their height, and some may be laid flat or removed.

Hundreds of stones at Redhill Cemetery – some only a few inches high or a year old – have been strapped to wooden stakes by to secure them temporarily.

Alan Anthony, 72, from Arnold, whose first wife is buried in the cemetery, said: "It's sacred ground. The council never informed us what was going on."

Ken Sharpe, 80, whose wife was laid to rest four years ago, said: "It is deplorable, just ludicrous."

And Rosemary Dove, 68, whose parents-in-law's gravestones were leaning slightly after decades, said: "I think it is so unnecessary. There must be the odd one or two which are dangerous, but it looks so dreadful now."

Gedling Borough Council says it has been advised by the Health and Safety Executive to carry out the tests.

People will have to pay up to £150 to a stonemason to reset their relatives' gravestone – which should cover a major repair such as inserting a ground anchor. Around £40 would cover a less urgent repair.

A council leaflet says that in the past decade three children have been killed and seven injured in UK cemeteries.

Since September 6, a total of 4,337 headstones or monuments in Redhill have been tested, but 39% of those have failed and been staked.

It is a similar story in Gedling cemetery where 32% of its 731 headstones have failed, while in Carlton the latest round saw 2,354 graves tested, with 43% failing.

Andy Bowers, leisure resources officer at the council, said: "National concern about safety in cemeteries has grown in recent years following a number of accidents.

"This had led to the Health and Safety Executive strongly advising that monuments and memorials in cemeteries should be regularly tested for safety and stability.

"Where headstones are deemed unstable, authorities have a duty to take action to make them safe."

A spokesman for the HSE said:

"It's such an emotive issue that the work should be carried out in a manner that doesn't cause distress."

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