Shock for family as grave targeted

George Fowler at his wife's grave in Layton Cemetery
George Fowler at his wife's grave in Layton Cemetery
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VANDALS have left a grieving widower sickened after his wife’s headstone was smashed.

George Fowler, 56, of Gateside Drive, Grange Park, lost his wife Julie, 46, to cancer five- and-a-half years ago.

Shortly after his wife’s death in 2006, Blackpool Council almost removed the headstone from the family plot in Layton Cemetery because it was causing an obstruction to lawn mowers.

This problem was resolved, but Mr Fowler says the recent spate of vandalism is the latest in a long list of disrespectful acts on his wife’s grave and has severely upset family members.

He said: “I don’t understand why people are doing this – it’s mindless vandalism.

“This is the first time there has been damage. My grandchildren put down flowers and trinkets, they are always going to the grave and there is a constant problem with dog mess.

“The people who do this must have mothers and fathers and I wonder how they would feel if it happened to their family’s headstones.”

The vandals smashed a tiled picture of Mrs Fowler and also damaged the grave of a six-month-old child.

Mr Fowler, an optician, is unsure how much it will cost to repair the damage done to the bespoke tiles.

He added: “The tiles had to be made in Italy originally so I suspect they will have to go back there to be replaced. It’s an emotional cost as well and everyone in the family is upset about this.”

In recent months Blackpool Council also had to remove a tap from the cemetery which was being used to provide water for flowers as it had been repeatedly broken.

Coun Graham Cain, cabinet member with responsibility for cemeteries at Blackpool Council, said: “It’s awful to hear people are treating this area with such disrespect.

“Both ourselves and the local friends group have a presence in the cemetery and there is CCTV.

“It’s a public open space and although we would hope it’s treated with the dignity it deserves, isolated incidents like this can happen which are very upsetting for those involved.”

A Lancashire Police spokeswoman added: “We would urge any witnesses with information to come forward and contact us by calling 08451 253545