Contractors damage 100 year-old graves

Councillors gather near the damaged graves in Whitby Cemetery''w124416
Councillors gather near the damaged graves in Whitby Cemetery''w124416

FOUR gravestones in Whitby Cemetery were damaged when a contractors wagon ran out of control.

The graves date back over 100 years and one of the damaged tombs is that of one of Whitby’s most famous residents -

benefactor Alderman Robert Elliott Pannett who founded the town’s Pannett Park and art gallery.

The graves are likely to cost thousands of pounds to repair and the cost will be footed by the council appointed contractor, who Scarborough Borough Council (SBC) is refusing to name.

Town councillor Denis Collins said: “It’s a disgrace. They should have tidied up and covered them up after it happened.

“They appear to have pushed them over there and just left them. My concern is how quickly they are going to repair them.”

He added that workers had tarmaced over drains while carrying out maintenance works in the cemetery grounds.

The incident comes after a spate of complaints from relatives of people buried there about graves being damaged and neglected by the borough council.

Whitby Mayor Coun John Freeman added: “The cemetery is the final resting place people from all over Whitby, not just east side. It is the town’s cemetery and it should be shown great respect.”

Coun Simon Parkes who is leading a campaign to establish a Friends of Whitby Cemetery Group said the incident was “absolutely outrageous”.

Coun Noreen Wilson who visits the cemetary regularly herself said: “It’s the final straw for Whitby cemetary. Perhaps it’s a wake up call that we need to take action.”

SBC said action was being taken to trace relatives of the graves involved and action is being taken to repair them as soon as possible with the contractor involved employing a stone mason to make the headstones safe.

Andy Skelton, SBC’s head of environmental services added: “The accident has clearly had unfortunate consequences. However, I am satisfied with the action taken by the contractors so far and hope the headstones can be repaired as soon as possible.”