Family faces £200 headstone repair bill
A FAMILY are facing a bill of almost £200 to repair a relative s grave less than five years after the stone was laid. Albert Lemon s headstone is one of more than 100 graves in Ely Cemetery which have been declared unsafe. His wife Dorothy and daughter, A
A FAMILY are facing a bill of almost £200 to repair a relative's grave less than five years after the stone was laid.
Albert Lemon's headstone is one of more than 100 graves in Ely Cemetery which have been declared unsafe.
His wife Dorothy and daughter, Angela Parsons, discovered that it had been highlighted for expensive repairs when they went to lay flowers.
They found a metal stake holding up the headstone and bright yellow tape round the grave warning "Danger Unsafe Keep Away".
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Now they have six months to carry out repairs or the stone will be laid flat on the ground.
If the work is still not carried out the headstone will be removed for health and safety reasons.
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Mrs Parsons, of Manor Close, Witchford said: "When we discovered the tape around the headstone we went and found the curator and he told us that it was unsafe. He said he could move it slightly.
"We have had two or three quotes for the repair and it will be about £190. We are not very pleased about it but we will have to have it done."
The cemetery is run by Ely City Council and letters are being sent out to relatives who need to make repairs to their loved ones' graves.
But there are fears that not all families will be able to be traced and some old headstones may have to be removed.
Ely Mayor Cllr Ron Bradney said: "There seems to be a problem with the level of workmanship of two companies who have carried out work at the cemetery. People should be going back to them and suggesting they put the problems right.
"These headstones have failed our safety tests and if one should fall on a child the family would be liable.
"Our hands are tied. We are obliged to carry out these tests."
He added that repair bills could have cost more than £1,000 but the council had managed to negotiate a good rate with contractors.
"The city council does not have any discretion regarding these health and safety regulations," he said.
"We also wish to emphasise that taxpayers' money can not be used for rectifying privately-owned memorials.
"We regret any distress that this may cause to relatives but we will try to assist wherever possible."
Photo: HELEN DRAKE