Head­stone ser­vice starts up

Stratford Press - - News - By ALICE COWDREY

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.

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