Careless drivers wreck grave

Caroline Strand shows one of the concrete slabs near her husband Allan's grave which is encouraging pedestrians and motorists to walk over the plot in Bichopwearmouth Cemetery, Sunderland
Caroline Strand shows one of the concrete slabs near her husband Allan's grave which is encouraging pedestrians and motorists to walk over the plot in Bichopwearmouth Cemetery, Sunderland
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A TEARFUL widow has been left in despair after her husband’s grave was repeatedly reversed over by thoughtess drivers.

Caroline Strand, 64, said her husband’s graveside in Bishopwearmouth Cemetery had been ruined by tyre marks – and that concrete slabs put in by the council had made the problem worse.

Mrs Strand, from Plains Farm, said damage started appearing on Allan’s grave about a year ago, causing huge upset to family members going to pay their respects.

Visitors to the cemetery have been tending to the graves of loved ones before reversing their vehicles on to the grass, over Allan’s plot.

She added: “It was disgusting. There have been footprints and tyre marks. Nobody seemed to care that this is my husband’s grave.”

Mrs Strand said the problems have also been caused by workmen laying large bollards near the grave, with the intention of stopping the vehicles getting onto the site.

Allan’s grave has been left a muddy mess and, despite complaints from the family, Mrs Strand claims little was done.

She said: “It breaks my heart, I’m at my wits end. My husband only died four years ago, it shouldn’t look like that.

“I went up last week and they had dug all the soil up and put some grass seeds down, but I’m still not satisfied.

“I want them to move the bollards up there a bit further down. If anybody could go up there and see that grave – it’s disgusting.

“It did look like a proper grave. I used to go up there and put flowers on.”

In a letter dated January 21, John Blyth, cemeteries and crematorium manager at Sunderland City Council asked Mrs Strand to remove anything on the grave preventing work to repair the area being carried out.

But, two months later, Mrs Strand says the plot remains a mess.

The couple were married for 44 years before Allan died in 2007 aged 65 after developing Alzheimer’s.

They had two sons, six grandchildren and one great grandchild, who all want to pay their respects at the graveside.

Mrs Strand added: “Our son came up from down south to visit the cemetery and even he went to complain about the mess it was in.”

Les Clark, head of street scene at Sunderland City Council, said: “We can confirm that we are aware of Mrs Strand’s concerns regarding her husband, Allan Strand’s grave at Bishopwearmouth Cemetery, and that we have previously advised Mrs Strand that the grave would be restored when weather conditions improved.

“The grave surface has now been levelled with topsoil and new grass seed applied.

“The stone slabs which Mrs Strand felt were too close to her husband’s grave have also been repositioned.

“These concrete slabs will soon be replaced by natural materials to improve pedestrian access whilst preventing cars from accessing the area.”