Family devastated after grave urn damaged

PUBLISHED: 10:06 31 March 2011

Haddenham Grave Damaged, Shaun Craft, at his wifes grave, with the urn that was removed.

Haddenham Grave Damaged, Shaun Craft, at his wifes grave, with the urn that was removed.

Archant

A GRIEVING family who erected an urn to pay tribute to a much-loved wife and mother have been left devastated after it was damaged following a row about height regulations.

A GRIEVING family who erected an urn to pay tribute to a much-loved wife and mother on the anniversary of her death have been left devastated after it was forcibly removed and damaged following a row about height regulations.

Shaun Craft’s wife, Elizabeth, died in her husband’s arms, at the age of 47, after a gruelling three-year fight against breast cancer.

Her family, including 16-year-old Witchford Village College head boy Lewis Bendall-Craft, and 17-year-old Poppy, had only just recovered from the trauma of their mother’s death when they decided to spend hundreds of pounds on an urn in her honour.

It was put in her resting place of Haddenham Cemetery, in Chewells Lane, on September 15 last year – eight years to the day after she passed away in a hospice.

But within days Haddenham Parish Council was reportedly bombarding the family with letters and calls telling them to take it down because it was too tall.

Mr Craft, who runs a roofing and scaffolding company, went to various meetings at the council to try and negotiate a peaceful compromise.

However, he says the authority obviously decided to act and last weekend the family found the urn has been broken into three pieces.

The 56-year-old, of The Rampart, Haddenham, also said he could not have moved the four-foot structure in any case because he was recovering from a serious hernia operation.

“We are all totally devastated,” Mr Craft told the Ely Standard,

“When someone struggles with an illness for three years and dies in your arms in a hospice, it takes a long time to get over.

“You learn to live with it but when you get to a stage when you think you can deal with it, you are bombarded by people who seem to feel a sense of power by telling you what you can do with your late partner.

“It is absolutely despicable.”

No regulations about what was allowed in the cemetery were given to Mr Craft at the time of his wife’s death, he said.

In a statement, Haddenham Parish Council said: “There are rules and regulations that govern the erection of monuments at the burial ground and people have to ask permission of the parish council for them to be erected.

“Usually that goes through a stone mason and they comply with the rules and regulations. Mr Craft erected his monument without permission and it didn’t comply with the rules and regulations.

“We asked him by letter to remove it, he didn’t. We asked him again in another letter, but again he didn’t and we did say in that letter that if he didn’t remove it, we would and eventually we got someone to remove it.

“We had numerous complaints about the monument from the public who have relatives buried at the burial ground.”


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