Parents’ grief over son’s memorial ban

This Is Wiltshire: Joy and Terry Cole with the £300 black marble memorial to their son Andy, which council staff says needs to be removed from his grave at Kingsdown cemetery Joy and Terry Cole with the £300 black marble memorial to their son Andy, which council staff says needs to be removed from his grave at Kingsdown cemetery

THE family of motorcyclist Andy Cole have said they have been ordered by Swindon Council to move a £300 black granite memorial from his grave because it might blow away.

Andy died in Kingsdown Road on July 5 of last year, when his silver motorbike collided with a van, after an evening shift at Honda.

The 44-year-old was buried just over three weeks later at Kingsdown Cemetery, where a headstone was put up six months later.

The headstone is fronted by a 12-inch lawn space, which the owners, who pay the council £150 to use the space, may use for memorials and flowers.

And now, Karen Cole, Andy’s widow, and his parents, Terry and Joy Cole, have been told the tailor-made memorial, which weighs seven pounds and has stood in front of the headstone for 11 months, must be moved.

On Monday the family said they were told the 10-inch-high memorial must be bolted to the headstone or removed altogether because it may fall on somebody or blow away.

If this is not done before January 27, it will be confiscated and made available for collection from the cemetery office.

It comes as 1,300 grave plot holders received letters from the council reminding them of regulations for grave spaces at the cemetery.

Terry, 74, of Bolingbroke Road, said: “My wife was upset and my other boy was angry.

“We didn’t want him to go up there in case he got arrested, it’s bad enough now.

“You can see that is not going to blow away.

“I will go and see the council myself. What I thought was, you have got to draw the line somewhere with plastic items, but that is an official memorial.

“It’s been made by a funeral parlour; if they are not going to respect that, what are they going to respect?

“When you consider that we had to pay for the interment, the erection of the headstone, plus you have to pay to actually get it onto the council property, and then they try to say it’s going to blow away or fall on somebody.”

This is not the first time the Coles have faced disruption in their memorial to Andy. In April of this year, flowers laid at the scene of his death were stolen on multiple occasions, causing much distress.

Swindon Council said plot holders sign rules and regulations when they sign up, though Karen, of Farrfield, is adamant she has never received any sort of documentation outlining the terms of her ownership.

A spokesman for the council said: “The majority of people who have loved ones buried at Kings-down tell us that they want the cemetery to be neat, tidy and well maintained.

“We know that whatever we specify will never satisfy everyone and it is not an easy balancing act to achieve. But our staff do their best to be fair in dealing with what can understandably be emotive issues.

“In this particular case we have told the family that the memorial they have on their plot would be fine as long as it was attached to the headstone, which is where it was placed initially, but it has since been moved.”

Comments (8)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

10:33am Fri 20 Dec 13

house on the hill says...

That really is horrendous and the height of jobsworths at the Council. So i doubt anyone is surprised.
That really is horrendous and the height of jobsworths at the Council. So i doubt anyone is surprised. house on the hill

11:12am Fri 20 Dec 13

Lindsr says...

I find this so distressing and insensitive. To also send letters a week before Christmas is not needed. It's hard enough at this time of year.
I contacted the office at Kingsdown regarding the benches which they have placed there as they had tipped over in the wind (in November) as some were inches away from headstones and we were concerned they may cause damage. I have yet to recieve a reply!. Yet we as grave owners are being told to remove/secure items. It feels like a battle and i think it is so wrong and causing added pressure to what is already a difficult time , but what can we do?!.
I find this so distressing and insensitive. To also send letters a week before Christmas is not needed. It's hard enough at this time of year. I contacted the office at Kingsdown regarding the benches which they have placed there as they had tipped over in the wind (in November) as some were inches away from headstones and we were concerned they may cause damage. I have yet to recieve a reply!. Yet we as grave owners are being told to remove/secure items. It feels like a battle and i think it is so wrong and causing added pressure to what is already a difficult time , but what can we do?!. Lindsr

11:15am Fri 20 Dec 13

LordAshOfTheBrake says...

Seems like a complete over reaction from the family. The council are simply saying it needs to be secured to the headstone. Perhaps some suitable industrial strength glue would work just as well as a bolt.

The whole suggestion they are afraid to go there in case they get arrested is preposterous and just shows the sensationalism of a minor issue; unless the implication is of course that he was going up there in a temper to cause trouble....!

It should be fairly easy to see if they signed up to the terms and conditions as the paperwork will have the signature.
Seems like a complete over reaction from the family. The council are simply saying it needs to be secured to the headstone. Perhaps some suitable industrial strength glue would work just as well as a bolt. The whole suggestion they are afraid to go there in case they get arrested is preposterous and just shows the sensationalism of a minor issue; unless the implication is of course that he was going up there in a temper to cause trouble....! It should be fairly easy to see if they signed up to the terms and conditions as the paperwork will have the signature. LordAshOfTheBrake

12:35pm Fri 20 Dec 13

Oldswindonian says...

LordAshOfTheBrake wrote:
Seems like a complete over reaction from the family. The council are simply saying it needs to be secured to the headstone. Perhaps some suitable industrial strength glue would work just as well as a bolt.

The whole suggestion they are afraid to go there in case they get arrested is preposterous and just shows the sensationalism of a minor issue; unless the implication is of course that he was going up there in a temper to cause trouble....!

It should be fairly easy to see if they signed up to the terms and conditions as the paperwork will have the signature.
Totally agree. The Council is an easy target and its totally preposterous that people go rushing to the Adver at the slightest thing.
[quote][p][bold]LordAshOfTheBrake[/bold] wrote: Seems like a complete over reaction from the family. The council are simply saying it needs to be secured to the headstone. Perhaps some suitable industrial strength glue would work just as well as a bolt. The whole suggestion they are afraid to go there in case they get arrested is preposterous and just shows the sensationalism of a minor issue; unless the implication is of course that he was going up there in a temper to cause trouble....! It should be fairly easy to see if they signed up to the terms and conditions as the paperwork will have the signature.[/p][/quote]Totally agree. The Council is an easy target and its totally preposterous that people go rushing to the Adver at the slightest thing. Oldswindonian

1:42pm Fri 20 Dec 13

The Witch says...

Councils these days are damned if they do and damned if they don't. The trouble is the 'elf & safety' brigade have taken over the country and everyone is afraid of having an insurance claim slapped against them.
Councils these days are damned if they do and damned if they don't. The trouble is the 'elf & safety' brigade have taken over the country and everyone is afraid of having an insurance claim slapped against them. The Witch

6:18pm Fri 20 Dec 13

Rubbercement says...

If you read it again I believe that because Andy's brother was angry at this they fear HE would be arrested.
If you read it again I believe that because Andy's brother was angry at this they fear HE would be arrested. Rubbercement

1:02am Sat 21 Dec 13

Phantom Poster says...

The council response actually sounded quite reasonable. But I guess that doesn't make a story!
The council response actually sounded quite reasonable. But I guess that doesn't make a story! Phantom Poster

4:33pm Sat 21 Dec 13

lisers says...

im with the family on this as no way would it blow away i am surprised how heavy these are its better than putting a vase there .health and safety gone mad
im with the family on this as no way would it blow away i am surprised how heavy these are its better than putting a vase there .health and safety gone mad lisers

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree