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Spixworth woman's distress after soil left on parents' graves

PUBLISHED: 11:00 08 July 2011

A Spixworth woman who claims her parents' graves were covered in soil excavated from a neighbouring plot has called for lessons to be learned by bosses at a burial park near Norwich so no-one else has to experience the same distress.

Janice Gill has been left distressed at the way in which the memory of her parents, Gwendoline, who died in 2005, and Reginald, who died in 2006, were “desecrated” after a neighbouring grave plot at Colney Wood Burial Park was dug out.

Mrs Gill, 61, who lives at Godfrey Road, went to the Costessey-based burial park to place flowers on their graves on what would have been their wedding anniversary and was confronted with something resembling a “bomb site”.

The mother of one said: “I went to where the plot was and initially thought I had gone to the wrong area; it was like a piece of wasteland with flint and stones on it and roots from the ground of the other grave.

“The wooden plaques with my parents’ names on were still there and the wooden base of a tree trunk that was used as a vase, but everything else had gone; all the crosses we had put in, all the plants, everything had just gone.

“It’s my belief, and that of my family, that when they dug this grave they laid the soil on top of my mum and dad’s and then in filling the new grave had scraped the soil back, taking my mother and father’s with them.”

A shocked Mrs Gill went to the office to report the matter after discovering the state of the graves on May 23 and said it would have ended there and then if the staff offered her an apology.

But she said staff had denied any knowledge of soil being placed on top of her parents’ graves by anyone at Colney Wood and said undertakers might have been responsible.

This prompted Mrs Gill to arrange a meeting with burial park bosses and undertakers using the site, who also denied responsibility, so she was still no nearer to finding out what happened or getting an all- important apology.

She said: “All I wanted was an apology, a heart-felt apology. It was very upsetting. It was just left like a building yard.”

Mrs Gill has since received a letter from Colney Wood explaining that they were going to rethink some of their methods to try to prevent a repeat, but she said she wanted to publicise that things like this can happen to stop it happening to others.

Mark Packer, park manager at Colney Wood, said: “We pride ourselves on providing the highest quality service and burial options for the bereaved.

“We achieve this through creating a natural and beautiful environment, which offers dignity to the deceased whilst still retaining absolute respect for the bereaved families who use our services.

“On occasions when any distress is caused we work with the families to resolve the issue. We are currently awaiting a response from Mrs Gill to our recent letter.”

Have you got a story? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

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