A ‘DEVASTATED’ father has spoken of his upset after finding his son’s headstone removed from its plot – all in the name of health and safety.
Peter Elvidge visited his son’s grave in Badby Cemetery on Saturday, June 16 only to find the headstone had been laid down on the grass next to where he’s buried.
It is among 14 headstones at the cemetery which have been laid down and an official notice explaining the move has been sellotaped to each one.
Badby Parish Council said it had to remove the headstone under health and safety rules because it was loose and causing a danger to visitors.
Mr Elvidge’s son, Graham, died 13 years ago, aged 25, in a car accident.
Mr Elvidge said: “I don’t understand why they couldn’t have contacted us and asked us to make it safe or at least let us know what they were doing.
“We didn’t know about it until we visited our son and it was very upsetting for myself and my wife (Shirley Elvidge).
“I was extremely annoyed and my wife was absolutely devastated. We now live in Cambridge and visit the cemetery every three to four weeks.”
Chairman of Badby Parish Council Mike Richards said the rules were enforced after an incident last year in which a woman injured herself at the cemetery.
He said: “We had an accident last year where an elderly woman lent on a headstone which fell over and she spent a week in hospital as a result.
“She made a claim which went through our insurance and as a consequence we spoke to various officials at the district and county council about cemetery responsibility and health and safety.
“We have to ensure gravestones are safe and accidents are prevented. If they are unsafe we have to lay them down.
“We had no idea of Mr Elvidge’s contact details but after seeing the note on the gate he should have tested the headstone to check if it was safe.”
AA spokesperson for Daventry District Council said, that while the same policy is in place for the town’s cemeteries, if safety measures were taken ‘every effort would be made’ to contact the owner or relative to inform them.