Headstone service starts up
Cleaning up headstones may seem like a morbid task for some, but for Abby Dowman it’s a therapeutic job that helps honour those who have passed.
After cleaning her grandparents and sister’s headstones at Opunake, the Tikorangi woman looked around and noticed that many headstones were harbouring moss and their words had faded over time. As tempting as it was just to go and start cleaning them, she decided she needed to ask permission first and set about starting a small business called Taranaki Headstone Cleaning and Moss Removal. Abby has since touched up headstones in Stratford, New Plymouth, Opunake and Waitara and says the job isn’t about money but a sense of purpose.
“I got into it because I like to make a difference and help people out who often don’t have the time. As long as they are happy with the job, I am happy.”
She has had great feedback about the service which has been encouraging. Her prices differ depending on what people want but is usually between $40 and $100, with the charge covering fuel and supplies like scrapers, paint and paint brushes. She uses water-based headstone paint to touch up words and image that have worn off due to the weather and also scrapes any moss off and gives them a clean.
Abby — who also works as a cleaner — says working in a cemetery doesn’t bother her in the slightest and said they were lovely peaceful places to spend time. She says the job is satisfying — especially seeing people’s reactions to her work.
“Knowing that they are happy with the job is the most important thing as well as honouring the person who has passed.”
■ Go to www.taranakiheadstone cleaningandmossremoval.co.nz.
Abby Dowman has started up a new business tidying up headstones.