Anger over changes to graves in Harrow area of Carpenders Park Cemetery

Anger over changes to graves at cemetery

Anger over changes to graves at cemetery

First published in News
Last updated
by

Mourners are angry at the "disrespectful" way the graves of their loved ones have been treated at a cemetery.

People whose relatives are buried at Carpenders Park Cemetery, in Oxhey Lane, have launched a campaign against turning their part of the site into a lawn cemetery.

The cemetery is run by Brent Borough Council, and in 2007 Harrow Borough Council opened a section of the graveyard for Harrow residents.

But Harrow families recently found staff removing crosses, flowers and other memorabilia which had been allowed on the graves for years.

More than 1,100 people have signed a petition calling for the changes to be reversed.

Deborah Kelleher, 51, of St Edmunds Drive, Harrow, whose mother is buried at the site, said: "We were told a date the graves would be cleared but nothing was done until a month later.

"When I arrived there were staff just throwing people's crosses, flowers and pictures from around the graves into plastic bags.

"People were tuning up and when they saw what had happened they were in tears.

"The way this has been handled has been so disrespectful and very heavy handed. We know it's a lawn cemetery but for seven years the Harrow part hasn't been. It's been very hurtful.

"People want to personalise their loved one's graves to remember them and help them grieve. Now it's like a barren field and people walk over the graves not realising they are there."

Susan Johnston, 54, from Harrow, whose sister is buried at the cemetery said: “When my sister died six years ago we were not given a choice about where to bury her.

“Since then we have been allowed crosses to mark the graves but now they are being removed. This is deeply insensitive to bereaved families and disrespectful to the dead.

“Graves now have a numbered paving slab. This is reducing our loved ones to just a number.”

Tony Egan, 79, whose daughter is buried at the cemetery, said: "As Catholics we want the timber cross on the grave.

"Every time I go up there now I cry and cry. I just cannot believe this has been done."

Gerry Kiefer, head of sports and parks service at Brent Council, said: "As with all lawn cemeteries, Carpenders Park is a grassed cemetery where commemorative plaques are laid horizontally at ground level to maintain the look and feel of an open lawn.

"There are many grave owners who specifically wish their relatives and loved ones to be buried in a lawn cemetery.

"The common maintenance practice for such cemeteries is to lay graves to lawn after an initial period of at least 18 months.

"This means that people have a period where they can mark the graves of relatives and loved ones with commemorative items including religious insignia should they wish.

"After this period we notify all grave owners to remove items as a practical measure to enable us to lay the graves to lawn.

"All grave owners agree to this process when purchasing a burial plot at Carpenders Park and anyone who wishes to mark a grave with a headstone is offered a plot in an alternative cemetery."

Comments (8)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

6:42pm Wed 18 Jun 14

Lisa.Moore says...

If you want to help with the campaign you can sign the online petition here http://chn.ge/1qPCTo
1
If you want to help with the campaign you can sign the online petition here http://chn.ge/1qPCTo 1 Lisa.Moore
  • Score: -6

8:59am Thu 19 Jun 14

ILoveLawnCemetery says...

I have several family members buried here. I brought my children here when they were young and they didn't feel scared in any way and referred to it as Heaven's Garden. Now it is filling up with spooky crosses and plastic sentimental memorabilia everywhere.

How can this cemetery possibly be maintained with all these items all over the place - it will turn into a rubbish tip.

I for one do not support this and also the Cemetery do make it perfectly clear that this is a lawn cemetery, I don't understand why this article is claiming otherwise.
I have several family members buried here. I brought my children here when they were young and they didn't feel scared in any way and referred to it as Heaven's Garden. Now it is filling up with spooky crosses and plastic sentimental memorabilia everywhere. How can this cemetery possibly be maintained with all these items all over the place - it will turn into a rubbish tip. I for one do not support this and also the Cemetery do make it perfectly clear that this is a lawn cemetery, I don't understand why this article is claiming otherwise. ILoveLawnCemetery
  • Score: 7

11:01am Thu 19 Jun 14

neidin1 says...

"All grave owners agree to this process when purchasing a burial plot at Carpenders Park and anyone who wishes to mark a grave with a headstone is offered a plot in an alternative cemetery."

- Where in Harrow is there an alternative cemetery where you can have a headstone - all full since 2006?? My family didn't have an alternative offered !
"All grave owners agree to this process when purchasing a burial plot at Carpenders Park and anyone who wishes to mark a grave with a headstone is offered a plot in an alternative cemetery." - Where in Harrow is there an alternative cemetery where you can have a headstone - all full since 2006?? My family didn't have an alternative offered ! neidin1
  • Score: 0

12:41pm Thu 19 Jun 14

Ack2012 says...

I'm not being funny but it should be a petition across the whole cemetery not just the Harrow bit!... My stillborn son is buried in the baby section as you drive into the main car park and that area was beautiful people used to come over for lunch and sit there because all the graves looked so beautiful. Decorating the graves gives you some kind of comfort when you lose a loved one especially a child and a nicely decorated grave is easier to help me explain what happened to my first born son to his younger brother.
Other bereaved parents chose to bury their children near our son because his grave WAS so beautiful!... Everyone over the baby section maintained their graves, it was such a shock to go over there and see all decorations taken off and just a slab saying the grave number slumped on top- it has been done in such an uncaring manner and insensitive way considering these are babies... Complete and utter grave desecration in my eyes. Yes we signed up knowing it was a flat lawn cemetery but why let us have it decorated nicely for 3 years then all of a sudden just rip everything away and put a slab there? Utter rubbish they speak of when they say it's easier to maintain when there is just a plaque as my grandparents are buried near an edge and they don't even cut their grass. They are never seen working either. I am completely enraged by this whole process I have been reliving the traumatic birth all over again seeing his grave as if he has just been laid to rest all over again. It is disgusting considering the cost of burial and the plaque we have purchased to be told what you can and cannot do and how your relatives grave can look. It was beautiful it the summer time seeing all the beautiful flowers why should a cemetery be dull and gloomy such is death... Their lives should be celebrated and their memories remembered with beautiful flowers and decorations. Everyone sign the petition for the entire cemetery not just the Harrow section (which by the way is always stunning and bright) let's take this to mainstream and get it squashed!!!
I'm not being funny but it should be a petition across the whole cemetery not just the Harrow bit!... My stillborn son is buried in the baby section as you drive into the main car park and that area was beautiful people used to come over for lunch and sit there because all the graves looked so beautiful. Decorating the graves gives you some kind of comfort when you lose a loved one especially a child and a nicely decorated grave is easier to help me explain what happened to my first born son to his younger brother. Other bereaved parents chose to bury their children near our son because his grave WAS so beautiful!... Everyone over the baby section maintained their graves, it was such a shock to go over there and see all decorations taken off and just a slab saying the grave number slumped on top- it has been done in such an uncaring manner and insensitive way considering these are babies... Complete and utter grave desecration in my eyes. Yes we signed up knowing it was a flat lawn cemetery but why let us have it decorated nicely for 3 years then all of a sudden just rip everything away and put a slab there? Utter rubbish they speak of when they say it's easier to maintain when there is just a plaque as my grandparents are buried near an edge and they don't even cut their grass. They are never seen working either. I am completely enraged by this whole process I have been reliving the traumatic birth all over again seeing his grave as if he has just been laid to rest all over again. It is disgusting considering the cost of burial and the plaque we have purchased to be told what you can and cannot do and how your relatives grave can look. It was beautiful it the summer time seeing all the beautiful flowers why should a cemetery be dull and gloomy such is death... Their lives should be celebrated and their memories remembered with beautiful flowers and decorations. Everyone sign the petition for the entire cemetery not just the Harrow section (which by the way is always stunning and bright) let's take this to mainstream and get it squashed!!! Ack2012
  • Score: -1

12:44pm Thu 19 Jun 14

Ack2012 says...

How would they feel if it was their relatives grave??
How would they feel if it was their relatives grave?? Ack2012
  • Score: 0

2:15pm Thu 19 Jun 14

BMOSULLIVAN says...

Gerry Kiefer from Brent Council has TOTALLY missed the point and shows why there has been so much upset. THe whole process has been so badly handled. I attended the cemetary on 5th May with relatives and found a number of distressed people there. SOme received letter, others did not. Total confusion over what should be removed and what should not.

I rang BRENT council the following day and spoke to a Kevin Cooney who freely admitted that letters had been sent out in the wrong order (those with newer graves getting letters before those with older graves) and that the Harrow section of the cemetary had not been looked after according to its contract with Harrow council. So Mr Kiefer, rather than make a glib statement about contracts and the nature of the cemetary realise that YOUR staff have messed this up big style and upset alot of people.

Your staff should be ashamed of the upset they have caused and I hope that appropraite action is taken to remedy this.
Gerry Kiefer from Brent Council has TOTALLY missed the point and shows why there has been so much upset. THe whole process has been so badly handled. I attended the cemetary on 5th May with relatives and found a number of distressed people there. SOme received letter, others did not. Total confusion over what should be removed and what should not. I rang BRENT council the following day and spoke to a Kevin Cooney who freely admitted that letters had been sent out in the wrong order (those with newer graves getting letters before those with older graves) and that the Harrow section of the cemetary had not been looked after according to its contract with Harrow council. So Mr Kiefer, rather than make a glib statement about contracts and the nature of the cemetary realise that YOUR staff have messed this up big style and upset alot of people. Your staff should be ashamed of the upset they have caused and I hope that appropraite action is taken to remedy this. BMOSULLIVAN
  • Score: 1

4:53pm Thu 19 Jun 14

Ack2012 says...

Absolutely agree and I too was told that my sons grave was done as the papers from the year that he was buried (2011) were pulled out first so that's why he was done first. Brent council Couldn't handle a knees up in a brewery!... Should be ashamed of themselves and their staff as mentioned above. There are graves near my sons that were buried from 2001-present and they haven't been touched it's disgraceful that all this troubles going on and this is supposed to be a garden of rest!
Absolutely agree and I too was told that my sons grave was done as the papers from the year that he was buried (2011) were pulled out first so that's why he was done first. Brent council Couldn't handle a knees up in a brewery!... Should be ashamed of themselves and their staff as mentioned above. There are graves near my sons that were buried from 2001-present and they haven't been touched it's disgraceful that all this troubles going on and this is supposed to be a garden of rest! Ack2012
  • Score: 0

2:45pm Sun 22 Jun 14

DJFearRoss says...

I agree in part, but not with the way it was handled. My dad is buried there and we put a few objects there 'ontop' of his grave to personalise it a bit. Each person laid there is special to someone.

However, the next year we arrived to pay our respect. we found the people next to us had laid PAVING SLABS and large ornaments right the way around their relatives grave, making ours look terribly small and hidden. We understood their feelings so didn't complain but it would've been nice if there were some rules that were forced here, for everyone's benefit.
I agree in part, but not with the way it was handled. My dad is buried there and we put a few objects there 'ontop' of his grave to personalise it a bit. Each person laid there is special to someone. However, the next year we arrived to pay our respect. we found the people next to us had laid PAVING SLABS and large ornaments right the way around their relatives grave, making ours look terribly small and hidden. We understood their feelings so didn't complain but it would've been nice if there were some rules that were forced here, for everyone's benefit. DJFearRoss
  • Score: 5

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

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