Widow disgusted by bench removal
Memorial deemed unsafe by staff
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.