Family’s shock after grave tributes ‘lost’

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Mementos that a family left on their dad’s resting place were lost after a new grave was dug – and somebody else was buried on top of them.

Gillian Waters went to tend to her father Edward Hemingway’s grave at Liversedge Cemetery in Clough Lane on May 9.

Everything from my dad’s grave was missing and there was just a pile of earth again.

Gillian Waters

When she arrived the rubble from a newly-created space was left on top of Mr Hemingway’s grave and its plants, vases and other mementos were missing.

Mrs Waters said: “We were really shocked. We couldn’t work out what had happened. It was all really surreal.

“Everything from my dad’s grave was missing and there was just a pile of earth again.

An email from Kirklees Council to Mrs Waters’ brother Robert Hemingway revealed that the memorabilia had toppled into the next grave during work prior to the lady’s burial. The keepsakes were then “lost”, the council confirmed.

Mr Hemingway’s grave cost his wife Dorothy, who intends to be buried alongside him when she passes away, £1,700 after he died last June aged 78.

Mrs Waters, 48, of Heckmondwike Road, Dewsbury, said: “With the weather looking nice we thought we could do something nice with his gravestone. It’s putting everything on hold.

“It’s a mess again. We are a year down the line and we are nowhere.”

A Kirklees Council spokesperson said: “Whilst the grave next to Mr Hemingway’s was being prepared for a burial last week it collapsed. This is a very rare occurrence and is due to the nature of the ground conditions.

“Whilst ground conditions in different cemeteries do vary, it does take approximately six months for a grave to settle. During this time graves can be affected by movement under the surface and this can lead adjacent graves becoming unsettled. On this occasion the team made the grave safe and then retrieved some of the items, replacing them on Mr Hemingway’s grave. Unfortunately the collapse of the adjacent grave resulted in the memorabilia from Mr Hemingway’s grave being lost.”

“It is never our intention to cause damage to adjacent graves whilst preparing graves for burial. The team take great pride in their work and are committed to providing a service that is highly valued. Our sincere condolences have been passed to the family of the late Mr Hemingway.”

The council has offered to restore the headstone.