Northfleet Cemetery nightmare for grieving mum
PUBLISHED: 14:03 30 September 2010
A DISTRAUGHT mum who went to visit her father's grave with her 10-year-old daughter wept when she could not find his resting place.
Sherrie Bridge, 41, and little Natasha spent several agonising minutes trying to locate the spot in Northfleet Cemetery only to find it had been covered with earth and tarpaulin by heartless grave-diggers.
The men had been digging a new grave two plots away and appeared to have spread great heaps of soil over the next-door plots. They even buried a small miniature rose and shrub on the headstone.
Mrs Bridge, of Brooke Drive, Chalk, was visiting 68-year-old Geoffrey Williams’ final resting place to mark the 14th anniversary of his death when she made the discovery on Saturday.
The accounts administrator said: “They had desecrated my father’s grave and memory in an awful and thoughtless way. It caused unimaginable stress.
“I was walking around for a good 10 minutes trying to find my own father’s grave and thought for one moment I was going mad.
“When I located the spot it was just solid earth - I could not even see his headstone. Natahsa was with me and she got very distressed.
“She did not know her granddad and this is the only way she can associate with him. She was saying ‘how could they do this?’ and I could not answer.
“We had come to put flowers on his grave and have a chat – but we could not.
“I am not easily moved to tears but I found I was getting very distressed.”
The mother-of-three has since complained to Gravesham Borough Council and they have confirmed that an investigation has been launched as to why the graves were covered. By Tuesday the earth mounds had been removed and the new grave filled in.
Mrs Bridge added: “He was a retired gardener, so in some ways that made it a little bit worse, because he would have been appalled had he seen it.
“No dignity has been shown to my dad’s grave or his relatives and I’m disgusted by it.”
After making the discovery she immediately called her mother, Maureen, 65, who lives a short distance away to warn her not to go along as planned because it would have been too upsetting.
She added: “We come down on important anniversaries, and the last time I was here was on Father’s Day, but my brother, John, had been down about a fortnight ago to tend the grave and it was fine then.”
She said it may have happened because fewer people in general are tending graves, and the plot between her father’s and the newly dug one is unmarked. Despite this she maintains the grave-diggers should have been more careful.
Surveying the grave on Tuesday she said: “It has killed a lot of the grass and it is still not very pleasant.
“They could at least have got a wheelbarrow and moved the earth to a waste spot until they needed it to fill in the grave.”