Outrage at Council’s Move: Hundreds of Gravestones Toppled, Families Left ‘Devastated

Families Left Devastated by Council’s Graveyard Upheaval

Families are expressing deep dismay and anger after discovering that hundreds of gravestones at three cemeteries were intentionally knocked over by the Newcastle city council without prior notice.

The council claimed the memorials posed safety risks, yet many residents visiting Heaton cemetery were outraged upon finding the headstones lying flat on the ground.

Heartbroken Families Speak Out

Derek Armstrong, among those affected, visited the cemetery to pay respects to his triplets, only to discover their headstone labeled ‘unsafe’ and lying on the ground. His sons, born prematurely, passed away at tender ages, leaving a profound impact on him.

Similarly, Jo, deeply affected by her mother’s toppled headstone, expressed her heartbreak, unable to hold back tears at the sight. Lawrence Lamb, whose parents’ gravestones were also among those brought down, described the devastation and questioned the timing of this action, especially during the holiday season.

Council’s Response and Families’ Frustration

The council defended its actions, citing a need to ensure safety within cemeteries. They claimed that the decision to lay down memorials was based on public risk assessments. However, affected families have criticized the lack of prior communication and the subsequent financial burden placed upon them to reinstate the headstones.

Continuing Discontent and Past Incidents

This incident isn’t an isolated case, as similar controversies have arisen in other regions. In North Yorkshire, council actions at Haxby and Wigginton Cemetery faced backlash and accusations of vandalism after numerous headstones were taken down during what was termed a ‘topple test.’

Council’s Assurance and Clarification

The Newcastle City Council emphasized their legal obligation to maintain safe cemetery environments but acknowledged the sensitivity of the matter.

They clarified that efforts to contact affected families are made, although this might not always be achievable. The council assured support and guidance to families in restoring memorials, acknowledging the emotional weight attached to this issue.

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