Items to be removed from mother's grave in St Albans 'without permission' from family

PUBLISHED: 06:59 04 December 2019

Annabel Finley-Kensett's mother Ann Finley is buried in Hatfield Road Cemetery. Picture: John Kensett

Annabel Finley-Kensett's mother Ann Finley is buried in Hatfield Road Cemetery. Picture: John Kensett

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A bereaved daughter has accused cemetery bosses of being biased against adults' graves after St Albans district council said they would remove breakable items from gravestones.

Annabel Finley-Kensett's mother Ann Finley is buried in Hatfield Road Cemetery. Picture: John KensettAnnabel Finley-Kensett's mother Ann Finley is buried in Hatfield Road Cemetery. Picture: John Kensett

The council has revised its cemeteries information and regulations, so that items made from glass, pottery, tin or plastic will be removed without notice because they pose a danger to visitors and staff. Cemetery workers have reportedly been injured by flying pieces of broken glass when using strimmers around the graves.

While the ban will be enforced on adults' graves without notice, 'informal' items will be allowed on children's graves as long as they do not obstruct maintenance, and cemetery staff will inform the family before taking anything away.

Annabel Finley-Kensett, whose mother is buried in Hatfield Road Cemetery, said: "She's been dead for nearly four years, and there was nothing in our contract about what they are saying now.

"This is disgusting that they are going to remove stuff without our permission."

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Annabel claims putting safety guards on the strimmers would prevent the risk of cemetery workers being injured by debris.

She said: "Health and safety should provide them with the proper equipment in the first place. If they can do a better job on children's graves they can do a better job on adult's graves. I want to be able to leave a nice ornament on my mother's grave."

Annabel, who lives in Wynches Farm Drive, said that her father visits the grave three times a week and often finds it in a mess. She said: "They are so fed up with the destruction caused by the gardeners that they have decided to blame the owners of the graves."

Joe Tavernier, the council's head of community services, said: "We know [tributes] can bring comfort to friends and relatives, but we do ask for people to follow some simple guidelines.

"These include being mindful of the health and safety of our gardeners and other staff as well as other cemetery visitors.

"We also ask that tributes are kept within the confines of the grave.

"Tributes on child and adult graves are treated by us with the same degree of sensitivity. I am not aware of our gardeners' strimmers causing any damage to graves nor have we had a complaint about that."

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