Family grief after grave visit is ruined

Earth from a grave next to John Nuttall's was piled on top of his resting place, almost obscuring items left by his children and partner at his grave site.

Earth from a grave next to John Nuttall's was piled on top of his resting place, almost obscuring items left by his children and partner at his grave site.

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A grieving family were left devastated after their loved one’s grave and tributes were almost entirely covered with soil from another burial.

Irene Hinde and her two children were visiting her partner and the children’s father’s grave at Skerton Cemetery for the first Christmas Day since he passed away in January 2014 from lung cancer.

A cross, floral and other tributes left at John Nuttall's grave could not be seen on Christmas Day.

A cross, floral and other tributes left at John Nuttall's grave could not be seen on Christmas Day.

But distraught Irene, 38, and her kids, age ten and 20, say they were unable to see any tributes on the grave because they were obscured with a giant box of earth from an adjacent grave.

Irene said: “It was my kids first Christmas without him and that was what they were greeted with.

“It’s the disgrace of it. Two weeks before Christmas we had decorated the grave with Christmas things and we went up on Christmas morning to put his card on.

“We couldn’t see the grave because there was soil on top which covered most of it.

“I just think its so disrespectful and we had no notification at all. We were just so angry.”

Irene, who lives with her children on Central Avenue, Beaumont, was devastated when her partner John Nuttall, also the father of her children, passed away.

But she says the first Christmas without him has now been made worse. She said: “We were so upset we couldn’t even sit with him and say ‘Merry Christmas.’”

Mark Cullinan, Chief Executive, said: “Lancaster City Council is responsible for the administration and maintenance of seven cemeteries within the district including Skerton Cemetery.

“Our primary objective is to provide a cemeteries service that meets nationally recognised standards and is delivered in a caring and sensitive manner.

“In preparing a grave it is normal practice to construct a soil box adjacent to the grave being excavated and this will preclude access for up to a few days to any affected grave.

“A large proportion of Skerton Cemetery is located on a considerable incline.

“Where new excavations are required on the incline, as in this particular instance, the soil box is always positioned on the lower side of the excavation for health and safety reasons.

“During this time any affected grave is fully protected to ensure no damage occurs and any artefacts or flowers on the grave are always relocated to a safe place and then reinstated after the adjacent burial is complete and the soil box removed. We would request that the family contact our Cemeteries Office (01524 582635) to discuss this.”