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Monday, 06 July 2015

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Children’s graves toppled by yobs

NEARLY 40 infants’ headstones have been desecrated in Egremont cemetery.

UPSETTING SIGHT: Nelson Shepherd from Egremont cemetery looks down with a heavy heart as he counts the vandalised children’s gravestones

By Mark White

Vandals uprooted the headstones in an area dedicated to babies’ and children’s graves, throwing them face down in an act of “total disrespect”.

Nelson Shepherd, the cemetery operative, said: “I found the graves last Wednesday morning and immediately knew it was a deliberate act of vandalism because of the number of graves affected.

“There were also marks in the ground to show feet digging into the ground to push the heavier stones over. It would be bad enough vandalising any graves but these were the graves of children, some only months old.”

The area in which the headstones stood is now trampled, with the flowers also ruined. There was also a stained glass window smashed and memorial benches moved.

Nelson continued: “I saw glass on the path and realised they had also smashed the window because there were several stones found inside the church.

“I was really looking forward to the flowers I had planted blooming but whoever has done this has now ruined that. I’m just glad that they stopped there and didn’t do anything to any others.

“It’s just completely mindless and hopefully we can find whoever did this.”

Since the incident, police have been informed and officers are carrying out checks.

Mike McVeigh, Egremont councillor, said: “It’s really shocking, sad and inconsiderate and I wonder who could do such a thing.

“It must have been in the hours of darkness to avoid being seen, although we often do checks at night to avoid this kind of thing.

“It’s so irregular for this kind of thing to happen and it’s a very sad incident.”

Egremont cemetery has won awards for its appearance, including the Royal Horticultural Society ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ award for its Jubilee Garden situated in the grounds of the cemetery.

Geraldine Pritchard, Egremont Town Council’s responsible financial officer, said: “It’s absolutely terrible and it shows a total lack of respect.

“These headstones are in memory of children who died many years ago and it’s upsetting for visitors to see this obvious vandalism in what should be a place of peace and respect to all those who are buried in the cemetery.

“This kind of thing doesn’t happen very often and people need to realise the cemetery isn’t a playground. It’s very dangerous not just for themselves but for when people come to visit graves they often kneel down and pull themselves up using the ground stones and them not being stable could cause serious injury.”

The headstones will now be put back into place and the flowers replanted.

Anyone who has any information or sees anything suspicious should report it to Nelson Shepherd, on site at the cemetery during working hours, or to Egremont Town Council on 01946 820254.

Have your say

What disrespectful little thugs. They wouldnt like it if someone done that to their loved ones grave. I am shocked and upset to know that such horrible thing is happening in the place where my brother is buried and if they have done anything to my brothers grave I suggest they dig a grave for themselves. Today's youth have no respect for the living never mind the dead. Lets just hope the little thugs are caught before any more get damaged. :)

Posted by kayla cherry on 24 February 2014 at 15:01

What Mindless, Empty Heads doesn't even begin to describe the Numpties that carried out this senseless act. They can't even begin to comprehend the additional hurt they have caused to the parents of the children buried there. Let's hope that one day the penny will drop.

Posted by Victor Meldrew (The 1st) on 18 February 2014 at 17:58

View all 3 comments on this article

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