Widow hits out at state of Houghton Cemetery

Mary Wharton with her brother Jim Race and daughters Mary Wharton and Donna Wharton at her husband's and daughter's graves in Houghton Cemetary.
Mary Wharton with her brother Jim Race and daughters Mary Wharton and Donna Wharton at her husband's and daughter's graves in Houghton Cemetary.
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A widow has hit out at the state of a cemetery as potholes and overgrown grass surround her loves ones’ graves.

Mary Wharton, 70, has accused Houghton Cemetery bosses of allowing the area around her husband and daughter’s grave to fall into a state of disrepair over the years.

William Wharton.

William Wharton.

The mum-of-five, who now lives in Blackpool, said despite living away she manages to regularly visit the graves of her husband William and daughter Allison Wharton, but has been left upset at the poor upkeep of the cemetery.

She said: “I lost my daughter Allison when she was just 15 years old after she choked during an epileptic fit during the night and then lost my husband William aged 73 to cancer two and a half years ago.

“They were buried in a family plot at the top end of Houghton Cemetery which used to be beautiful, but now it is an absolute disgrace.

“When I have been there recently I have nearly fallen out of my wheelchair because of the potholes, it’s really dangerous.

Mary Wharton at her husband's and daughter's graves in Houghton Cemetary.

Mary Wharton at her husband's and daughter's graves in Houghton Cemetary.

“I can’t even get my husband’s headstone in place because the ground isn’t level, the grass hasn’t been cut, the benches are broken and the taps are faulty.

“I cry when I go in that cemetery and see the decline.”

Mrs Wharton said she has been going to the cemetery since she was a child to visit her grandparents’ graves, but has been forced to watch the decline over the years.

When her daughter died, she bought a family plot for herself and her husband to share with Allison and says she wants the graveyard to be restoredback to what it was before she is laid to rest with them.

Allison Wharton.

Allison Wharton.

She added: “I don’t think I am asking for much for it to be brought back to how it was, just cut grass, a lick of paint and to mend the taps and benches.

“I will fight until there is not breath in my body for that cemetery, as I believe the way it has been left is disrespectful to the dead.”

A Sunderland Council spokesman said: “The city council has a maintenance programme for cemeteries and works hard to ensure standards are maintained. 
“If Mrs Wharton has complaints she should contact the council or the local ward members to discuss issues.”