THE council has apologised about the state of Whitby cemetery after a family said they were left devastated by dead flowers and grass cuttings on their gran’s grave just a month after she was buried.
Sardia Frankland contacted the Whitby Gazette after finding dead wreaths on Stella Hall’s grave which had been left there since the funeral last month.
Within days of the family complaining, council workmen were seen in the graveyard and Andy Skelton, Scarborough Borough Council’s Head of Environmental Services has tried to clarify how the cemetery is managed.
He said there was no set rule about how long flowers were left on graves because some families preferred to remove them themselves, whereas some like to leave them on and removing them earlier can cause greater upset.
He added: “We apologise for any anxiety and distress that has been caused to the family as we realise how sensitive these issues are and we try very hard not to cause additional stress for the bereaved at an already very difficult time.
“Due to the design of many of the graves in Whitby cemetery, it makes it very difficult to use mowers and therefore we have to strim much of the grass instead.
“However it is not acceptable for graves to be marred by grass as a result of our grounds maintenance. With this mind we will be reminding our staff of the need to be tidy during and on the completion of grass cutting.”
Mrs Frankland also said the grave had sunk but Mr Skelton said all graves settle to a certain extent following burial and are regularly topped up as required and that will happen in this case.
The issue prompted dozens and dozens of comments on the Whitby Gazette facebook page and some families are thinking of starting a petition campaigning for better care to be taken of Whitby Cemetery.