Town employs own gravedigger to address cemetery concerns
PUBLISHED: 15:26 21 December 2018 | UPDATED: 15:48 21 December 2018
A Norfolk town has employed a specialist gravedigger in a bid to improve the maintenance of its cemetery after concerns were raised by families.
Redenhall with Harleston Town Council has appointed Stubby Stammers as official grave digger at Redenhall Cemetery taking over task previously done by a number of different funeral directors.
The decision to appoint their own specialist came after issues were raised over the state of some graves and water logging in the cemetery.
Amongst those to raise concerns was Debbie Kilbourn who said mourners at her father’s funeral had to struggle to stop them sinking in the mud because of drainage issues.
Town Clerk Lynda Ling said: “This time last year the cemetery did get waterlogged. It was abnormal circumstances after we had snow and there is heavy clay soil in the cemetery. We did make enquires and a lot of other cemeteries were having the same problems.
“The town council is the burial authority and it is our responsibility. If people want the cemetery looking a certain way sometimes you have to take steps to make the happen.
The council opened the cemetery, which is alongside the graveyard of St Mary’s Church, in 2008.
Ms Ling said: “When you have different funeral directors who use different people the way that the graves are dug is different so the council has decided that we’d like them all to look the same so we will employ your own gravedigger. He is going to dig the graves the same way and finish them to the same standard. He does the grave digging for quite a few funeral directors and he has a wide experience.”
The council has also decided to allow families to install kerbstones around graves. They were previously prohibited but will now be allowed but with an extra £100 charge.
Ms Ling said: “It has always been the policy of the council not to have kerbstones for maintenance purposes but people had started to put their own in flouting the rules. There was some representation from a couple of families that they really wanted them so we have decided to allow it. However they will have to pay extra because it is extra maintenance costs because you have to use a strimmer.”