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EDITIONS
 Thursday, 23 January, 2003, 14:05 GMT
Loose memorials tackled by council
Rhuddlan cemetery
There are safety problems at Rhuddlan cemetery
About 60 unstable memorials at two Denbighshire cemeteries are to be laid down flat to stop them injuring visitors.

The move follows safety checks by the county's cemeteries office, which found about 150 to 200 unstable monuments across the county.

The majority of memorials are only around 3ft high, but could hurt someone quite badly

Sylvia Jones, Denbighshire Council

Where possible, the families of the deceased have been contacted, and the stones have been repaired, but the remaining memorials must now be made safe.

Memorials at Y Llwyn Cemetery, St Asaph and Rhuddlan Cemetery are due to be laid down in the week starting 3 February.

Notices informing people about the process have been placed on memorials and on the graveyard gates.

The safety of cemeteries are the responsibility of local councils, which are legally required to check memorials yearly.

Gravestone at Rhuddlan cemetery
Many of the gravestones are unstable

Denbighshire council's cemeteries officer Sylvia Jones said the checks were important after four deaths - and a number of injuries - had been recorded across the UK since 1992.

"The majority of memorials are only around 3ft high, but could hurt someone quite badly," she said.

"We write to the families or the person on the deeds but some people have moved on or died.

"The families often come forward and say they can't believe it is loose, but they hire a monumental mason to sort it out.

Emotional subject

"The headstones are a family's responsibility," she said.

"Our responsibility is to make sure the cemetery is safe and, once a problem is found, we pass it on to the family.

"If the family cannot be found, we have to lay it down for the safety of the cemetery," she added.

Ken Ewing, the council's head of public protection and regulatory services, said his staff were doing their best to ensure the safety of the public.

"Tragic incidents have happened elsewhere and the last thing we want is for that to happen here.

"It is an emotional subject, but we must protect people," he said.

Mr Ewing added that the laying down of memorials - which has started in some of the county's cemeteries - would be carried out by professional memorial masons.


More from north east Wales
See also:

27 Dec 02 | England
29 Oct 02 | England
04 Sep 02 | England
27 Mar 02 | Wales
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