Council's gravestone error angers grieving husband
A GRIEVING husband was deeply upset when the council pushed over his late wife's gravestone without informing him.
East Riding Council workers at Bridlington Cemetery pushed over the headstone of Gillian Beevers, who died in November 2009, because it was judged unsafe.
The council has now admitted the gravestone was laid down in error and is repairing damage to the headstone.
Mrs Beevers's husband Ernie, 71, still visits the grave at least three times a week.
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He said: "I was angry but upset as well, because I thought there should have been nothing wrong with the stone.
"If it had been 25 years old I could have understood."
The stone was pushed over on Friday morning.
After Mr Beevers saw what had happened to it, he complained to the council.
He then called his son and they went to see the gravestone at 5.30pm – only to find it had been taken away.
Mr Beevers spent an anxious weekend worrying over its whereabouts.
Then on Monday, the council told him it had been taken away for repairs.
He said: "Nobody informed me until Monday morning that it had been taken for repairs across the road.
"All weekend I was worried where the stone had gone.
"It wasn't right that I had to wait two-and-a-half days before I found out what had happened."
His wife's gravestone cost Mr Beevers about £3,000.
It is made of black marble with gold lettering picking out her name.
The widower said: "It was just upsetting all weekend not knowing where it was.
"But the council are putting it back together again."
East Riding Council has apologised to Mr Beevers and accepted the stone should not have been pushed over in the first place.
John Skidmore, head of streetscene services at East Riding Council, said: "The council carries out safety checks on headstones within East Riding cemeteries in order to reduce the risk of accidents involving unstable or weakened headstones.
"Checks, and any subsequent works, are carried out in a sensitive and appropriate manner and any headstones found to be in an unstable condition are made safe with supporting stakes and are only laid flat as a last resort.
"Once the headstone is inspected, the council contacts the families or deed-holders of those that require attention, advising that they engage a stone mason to carry out the necessary repair works."
Because Mrs Beevers's stone should not have been pushed over, the council is paying the £150 to have it repaired.
Mr Skidmore said: "During recent safety checks at Sewerby Road cemetery, the headstone of Gillian Beevers was found to be unstable and was laid flat by council inspectors, rather than being staked.
"It was unclear whether this action had caused further damage to the base fixings.
"After speaking to Mr Beevers, the council apologised for any distress that may have been caused and agreed to cover the cost of having the stone repinned and reinstated."