‘Leave my mum to rest in peace’ – grieving son’s plea to council workers damaging grave trinkets

Michael Palmer says damage to his mother's grave in Woodwells Cemetery, Hemel Hempstead, has occurred five times

Michael Palmer says damage to his mother's grave in Woodwells Cemetery, Hemel Hempstead, has occurred five times

A grieving son says he is at the end of his tether with careless council workers who have repeatedly damaged sentimental items on his mother’s grave.

Michael Palmer has visited his late mother Marjorie’s grave – in the council-run Woodwells Cemetery, off Buncefield Lane, Hemel Hempstead – with fresh flowers every week since her death seven years ago.

The 46-year-old says he prefers to tend to her plot himself and has tried to come to an agreement with staff to leave his mother’s grave alone.

Despite this, he has been devastated to see plaques, pots and trinkets shattered by strimmers used to tend the grass in the cemetery.

In one instance, a plaque featuring irreplaceable words written by Michael’s father was destroyed and thrown away – and he says there have been four other similar incidents since May last year.

He said: “I love my mum very much, I will never stop visiting her as she gave me life, she cared for me and loved me.

“Visiting her grave and looking after her is a very small price to pay.

“If you look on the back of the headstone you will see three letters – RIP – which means rest in peace, but if only she could.

“I am at the end of my tether. It is not just carelessness but vandalism. If a youngster went into the cemetery and smashed things, they would be charged with vandalism.”

Dacorum Borough Council’s group manager for commercial assets and property development Mike Evans said he has apologised to Michael directly for the problems.

He said: “At all times we do our utmost to respect individuals’ wishes . However, in order for us to maintain the cemetery so that it is a pleasant environment for all visitors to remember their loved ones, we do have to have some rules about what can be placed on a grave and where.

“Our bereavement team leader has met with Mr Palmer and made suggestions on how we can work together to keep this area tidy without further damage, such as our offer to replace the pot and put it on a slab, not on the grass area outside of the grave.

“We will be reminding all staff of the exceptional circumstances of the maintenance of this particular grave.”




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