Neglected graves upset for relatives

Hilary Latham, Jimmy Hetherington and Linda Farrell at their mothers graveside in Layton cemetery
Hilary Latham, Jimmy Hetherington and Linda Farrell at their mothers graveside in Layton cemetery
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FAMILIES whose loved ones are buried in a Blackpool cemetery have slammed council chiefs for allowing the grounds to fall into neglect.

They say grass has been allowed to grow so high at Layton Cemetery it covers some of the headstones.

The council today apologised for any distress caused and blamed the weather for the lack of upkeep.

Linda Farrell, from Bispham, said her family was shocked by the state of the Layton burial ground.

Her mother Hazel Braithwaite was buried there last month, following her death on June 3, aged 83.

Mrs Farrell said: “Our family has owned the plot since 1976 and my dad and grandad were already buried there.

“When it came to making arrangements for my mum, we were told she may not be able to be buried there because the regulations had changed and the grave was not deep enough.

“We were told we could pay an extra £700 to increase the height of the grave so she could be buried there. This meant the total cost was £1,220 and we decided to do this.

“However, we are shocked at how neglected the graveyard is.

“The grass is now as high as the headstones and it really isn’t very nice for relatives when they want to go and visit.”

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Virginia Bell, of Kirkstone Drive, Norbreck, whose father Robert McDonald is buried at Layton, is also angry about the state of the cemetery.

She said: “On visiting my father’s grave in mid June, I was shocked and upset to see the overall state of the grounds.

“The grass was to my knees and it was only because I knew the location of my dad’s grave that I was I able to find it. The headstone is low and was completely hidden by the tall grass.

“It is very upsetting to visit a loved one’s grave only to find this appalling sight.”

Last month Jean Bramwell spoke out about her disgust at the overgrown state of Carleton Cemetery where her husband Flight Lieutenant William Bramwell is buried prompting an increase in maintenance.

Coun Graham Cain (left), cabinet member with responsibility for cemeteries at Blackpool Council, said: “We are aware of the situation at Layton cemetery and I’d like to reassure residents we are looking to take immediate action.

“Due to the incredibly wet weather we have experienced for the last few months we have been struggling to keep on top of the grass cutting. It’s growing quicker than normal in the wet and warm conditions and on many occasions we’ve not be able to use the machinery we have.

“We have now spoken to our partners in the Probation Service and we will be increasing the resource on that site. I apologise for any distress that may have been caused.”

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