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Thursday, 02 October 2014

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Unkempt Whitehaven war graves an 'embarrassment'

THE unkempt state of Whitehaven’s war graves is a “total embarrassment’’ to the town, it has been claimed.

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Grave situation: A reader criticises the state of the war graves at Whitehaven

Photographs, sent in by a reader, reveal overgrown graves at Whitehaven Cemetery in the month marking the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One.

The reader said: “[Copeland] Council leader Elaine Woodburn said after the candlelit vigil in the town’s Castle Park (on August 4) ‘it is right that the bravery of all those souls should be remembered and honoured’.

“As the photographs of the war graves show, these are hollow words.’’

The pictures were “just a sample” the reader said. “The only attention they receive is when, several days before November 11, they are attacked with a petrol Strimmer and left with cut grass all over the graves and headstones.

“When you consider the care and maintenance of the war graves in Carlisle, throughout Great Britain and Europe, Copeland Council are a total embarrassment to the people of Whitehaven.’’

Peter Francis, media and marketing manager at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, said there were 75 war graves at the cemetery.

“We look after over 308,000 commemorations in the United Kingdom, spread across 13,000 sites,” he said. “Any work programme requires considerable liaison with a range of stakeholders, including local councils, parishes or private landowners. To address these challenges, we employ a 110-strong workforce and have over 4,500 commercial contracts in place.”

Mr Francis added: “We will see if one of our regional maintenance teams can visit the cemetery and report back to us. Whilst at the cemetery, the team will try to link up with the relevant authority to see what might be done to address the issues you have raised with us.”

Copeland Council, which is responsible for the upkeep of Whitehaven Cemetery, was contacted for a comment on Monday but had not responded by the time the News went to press.

Have your say

I have a simple solution to unkempt headstones and anything else as such which requires attention - get people who are already being paid, to do it. Instead of receiving money for doing nothing, any able bodied job seeker should be out there doing such things and should be taking pride in doing so. And in turn putting pride back in the community.

Posted by Ben Leary on 19 August 2014 at 01:10

What a disgracefull comment by "Bumble Bill". There seems to be a lot of disrespectful pseudonyms on the Whitehaven News comments lately, perhaps better moderation is in order? May I suggest that only comments by people using their real name may be shown? This would protect many from this cowardly behavior. Thanks.

Posted by Todd Bennett on 18 August 2014 at 15:53

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