Widow dis­gusted by bench re­moval

Me­mo­rial deemed un­safe by staff

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - by Tom Her­bert tom.her­bert@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

A WOMAN has been left ‘dis­gusted’ af­ter a ceme­tery at­ten­dant cleared away part of her de­ceased hus­band’s me­mo­rial bench.

He­len Dy­mond says she was dis­tressed af­ter the way South Bucks Dis­trict Coun­cil han­dled her com­plaints about the is­sue at Park­side Ceme­tery, Ger­rards Cross.

Mrs Dy­mond is a regular vis­i­tor to the ceme­tery fol­low­ing her hus­band’s burial in 2007. His grave does not have a head­stone and in­stead has a me­mo­rial seat, pic­tured above left, to re­mem­ber him by. But Mrs Dy­mond, from Lon­don, was un­able to find the seat when she vis­ited the grave in May this year, in­stead only find­ing the plaque from the back of the seat rest­ing on the grave. Af­ter search­ing she found the rest of the seat un­der­neath some bushes.

Ini­tially she thought van­dals had de­stroyed it and went to the ceme­tery su­per­in­ten­dent to ask how it hap­pened.

She said: “I went up all in­no­cently as I’ve done in my past and talk to my hus­band. I thought I’d gone mad. It was like a night­mare.”

She added: “I was ex­tremely shocked and dis­tressed. I couldn’t un­der­stand how the ceme­tery su­per­in­ten­dent would al­low a van­dal to get in there.”

But to her “shock” he said he did it as he be­lieved the seat was un­safe due to rot­ting wood. Mrs Dy­mond said: “There was no call what­so­ever to dis­card the wood. It was a to­tal shock to come into that ceme­tery.”

“It was a place of com­plete si­lence and re­mem­brance so the idea that some­one would just come and clear it away like rub­bish I thought was un­be­liev­ably in­sen­si­tive.”

A coun­cil spokesper­son said: “South Bucks Dis­trict Coun­cil is com­mit­ted to mak­ing sure peo­ple can grieve in a place which is safe, tidy and well kept. A mem­ber of staff re­moved a me­mo­rial bench which they felt had be­come un­safe and posed a safety risk to those vis­it­ing the ceme­tery. The plaque was placed care­fully next to the grave. Re­gret­tably the bench was re­moved be­fore the fam­ily was told, and we apol­o­gise for the un­in­ten­tional up­set this has clearly caused. In fu­ture we will en­deav­our to con­tact the fam­ily be­fore any me­mo­rial item is re­moved.”

Mrs Dy­mond has since paid for a car­pen­ter to re­pair the bench.

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