Council grasscutters damage 90-year-old family grave just days before funeral

A 90-year-old family gravestone was damaged by a bungling council grasscutter.

Thursday, 20th June 2019, 13:23 pm
Damage caused to Alison Myers' family grave by Leeds City Council grasscutters

Alison Myers discovered to her horror that the grave at Harehills Cemetery had been destroyed as she visited to place flowers there for her dad on Father's Day.

The damage - which was found just four days before the funeral of her mother, also set to be interred at the plot - is the second such incident caused by the council, according to Alison, from Fairburn Ings.

"That grave has been there for 90 years", she explained. "In that time, some moron from the council has come along and ruined it in minutes - and they've not even had the decency to pick up the damaged piece and put it back."

Damage caused to Alison Myers' family grave by Leeds City Council grasscutters

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The tombstone has been in Alison's family for decades but was restored nine years ago after she tracked it down as a surprise for her mother Joan Myers.

The grave is the resting place of Joan's grandfather who raised her as a child and would take her to visit it. After growing up, Joan forgot the exact location of the plot, but research carried out by Alison led them to find it again.

Joan, from Austhorpe, sadly passed away earlier this month aged 91, with her ashes set to be interred there alongside her late husband Derek's following her funeral on Thursday.

Harehills Cemetery on Kimberley Road, Harehills

Now Alison claims she is having to organise repairs to the grave herself, arranging to get a quote from a stonemason despite having her mother's funeral to prepare for.

"It's absolutely disgraceful", she added. "Whoever has done it needs to lose their job.

"It's taken me two days to get someone from the council to speak to me, which has really and seriously impacted on preparing for my mum's funeral. When someone did eventually ring me back it was when I was at the chapel of rest visiting my mother.

"This is twice this has happened - the first time was shortly after the grave was restored nine years ago although the damage this time around is far, far worse."

Harehills Cemetery has been reported on on several occasions in the past due to damage inflicted on graves by vandals.

Despite this, Alison said the family grave has never been damaged or defaced by criminals in its 90-years of existence, adding that "the only vandals are Leeds City Council".

A Leeds City Council spokesman said: “We make every effort to maintain our cemeteries while being respectful of visiting families and loved ones.

"We would like to offer our apologies for any upset caused in this instance and will be getting in touch with Miss Myers to discuss an appropriate timescale for these repairs to be carried out.”