We are testing all the headstones and memorials in our cemeteries to make sure they are still standing secure.
This is something all authorities do; the law requires it and it keeps people safe - did you know that in the UK 12 people have died in the last decade from unsafe memorials? There have also been many serious injuries.
Our trained staff test each headstone (and other memorials), either by hand or, if necessary, with special equipment. If they are in danger of toppling (for example if a child were to climb on it or someone use it to steady themselves) then we will act immediately and lay the headstone flat so that no-one can be hurt. We put a sign on the stone so that families know why it has been taken down. This also tells them what to do next and how to contact us.
We will then endeavour to contact the family, though sometimes this can be difficult if a lot of time has passed, people have moved or the ownership of the grave has changed hands.
The testing is carried out free of charge but if the stone is unsafe it is then up to the owner to have it rectified. The inspections and subsequent repairs will not interfere with the normal running of our cemeteries and you will still be able to visit as normal.
It is vital that our cemeteries are safe places for people to visit and work. We hope this work, which will continue as a rolling programme, reassures you that safety is our number one priority. If you would like to know more about this, please call our bereavement services team on 01946 830561.