Dirt on grave: family say apology 'not good enough'

Sisters Lesley Garnham, Carol Penman and Christine Honour.

Sisters Lesley Garnham, Carol Penman and Christine Honour.

First published in News

COUNCIL chiefs today issued a grovelling apology to a grieving family for dumping a mound of dirt on a loved one’s grave.

But it was too little too late for the relatives of John Garnham who criticised their words as “not good enough”.

As revealed by the Daily Echo, sisters Christine Honour, Carol Penman and Lesley Garnham were left shocked and disgusted when they saw workmen had left a huge mountain of earth on their brother John’s grave on the anniversary of his death.

They made the harrowing discovery and were reduced to tears during the annual visit to Millbrook Cemetery to mark 28 years since he died at the age of 29.

Now council bosses have issued an apology revealing that workers failed to “follow protocol” – and even went as far as sending flowers to the family.

Cabinet member for environment and transport at Southampton City Council, Cllr Jacqui Rayment, said: “The team has tried repeatedly today to contact the family to offer a personal apology for the distress and upset caused by this unfortunate incident.

“In a busy working cemetery where burials are requested in family graves there is sometimes no alternative but to place the excavated soil on neighbouring graves until the funeral takes place. The graves are protected before the soil is placed on them and restored to their original condition after the soil has been removed.

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“Usually soil is not placed on graves at or around an anniversary, and we are very sorry that this protocol was not followed on this occasion.”

But Christine, 46, a nursery teacher, said she remained angry.

She said: “The council can’t get round people by sending them flowers. We should have been informed.

“Action should be taken so it doesn’t happen to other families in future.”

John’s daughter, Stacey Birkett, 34, a mum-of-two from Shirley, added: “There’s no excuse. There’s space for soil to be put elsewhere. I don’t think they should get away with that at all, no matter whose grave it is.”

Comments (18)

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11:26am Wed 5 Feb 14

Bagamn says...

That name Jaqui Rayment seems to crop whenever there is a ****=up somewhere in the Council system. Is this just a coincidence?
That name Jaqui Rayment seems to crop whenever there is a ****=up somewhere in the Council system. Is this just a coincidence? Bagamn
  • Score: 8

12:12pm Wed 5 Feb 14

VIVERS says...

ooops there it is (some times they have no alternative ) and its looks like there it three graves covered not just yours have they complained ssssssooooooooooo selfish as i said before
ooops there it is (some times they have no alternative ) and its looks like there it three graves covered not just yours have they complained ssssssooooooooooo selfish as i said before VIVERS
  • Score: 3

12:31pm Wed 5 Feb 14

KingMawwaw says...

Imagine the amount of fuss the Council would make if a member of public dumped a huge mound of earth on a grave - or even scattered some ashes without paying the appropriate fee. I expect they'd seek criminal charges.

And they don't even say it wasn't supposed to happen - only that it wasn't supposed to happen on an anniversary. But how would the Council know all the times you might want to visit a loved one's grave? On their birthday, wedding anniversary - indeed on any day.

Rather than buying flowers, perhaps the Council should splash out on a wheelbarrow, so that soil can be deposited away from graves in future?
Imagine the amount of fuss the Council would make if a member of public dumped a huge mound of earth on a grave - or even scattered some ashes without paying the appropriate fee. I expect they'd seek criminal charges. And they don't even say it wasn't supposed to happen - only that it wasn't supposed to happen on an anniversary. But how would the Council know all the times you might want to visit a loved one's grave? On their birthday, wedding anniversary - indeed on any day. Rather than buying flowers, perhaps the Council should splash out on a wheelbarrow, so that soil can be deposited away from graves in future? KingMawwaw
  • Score: 2

12:37pm Wed 5 Feb 14

bigfella777 says...

Well what else can the council do apart from apologise?
Well what else can the council do apart from apologise? bigfella777
  • Score: 9

1:06pm Wed 5 Feb 14

sparkster says...

So the council should apologise and yes in an above post get a wheelbarrow, there is NO excuse for dumping soil on a grave, total disrespect for the relatives, there must surely be a corner of the cemetery where earth can go until it's needed again, too much like hard work i suspect
So the council should apologise and yes in an above post get a wheelbarrow, there is NO excuse for dumping soil on a grave, total disrespect for the relatives, there must surely be a corner of the cemetery where earth can go until it's needed again, too much like hard work i suspect sparkster
  • Score: -4

1:31pm Wed 5 Feb 14

St.Winch70 says...

Ok, you've highlighted the issue and you have had an apology for a mistake that was made. Two choices here - move on, or remain outraged and bitter!
I'm sure that it'll be better for all of you if you do the first.
Ok, you've highlighted the issue and you have had an apology for a mistake that was made. Two choices here - move on, or remain outraged and bitter! I'm sure that it'll be better for all of you if you do the first. St.Winch70
  • Score: 10

1:39pm Wed 5 Feb 14

sparkster says...

An apology wouldn't have been necessary if the dirt hadn't been dumped on the grave to start with, we are all entitled to our opinions on here that is what the comments section is for, hopefully this situation won't arise again
An apology wouldn't have been necessary if the dirt hadn't been dumped on the grave to start with, we are all entitled to our opinions on here that is what the comments section is for, hopefully this situation won't arise again sparkster
  • Score: -8

2:25pm Wed 5 Feb 14

Irate Wintonian says...

So would people prefer graves to be left open FFS?!
So would people prefer graves to be left open FFS?! Irate Wintonian
  • Score: 2

2:30pm Wed 5 Feb 14

SotonLad says...

The council have apologised and sent flowers. What else can they do?

Stop moaning and get on with your life - stop wasting web space with a non-story.
The council have apologised and sent flowers. What else can they do? Stop moaning and get on with your life - stop wasting web space with a non-story. SotonLad
  • Score: 10

2:31pm Wed 5 Feb 14

gilbertratchet says...

bigfella777 wrote:
Well what else can the council do apart from apologise?
At a guess, the words "pay compensation" are marching this way as we speak. I'm with you. Unfortunate incidents happen, and tragic though it may be, the options open are

Apologise
Don't apologise
Invent time travel, and go back to prevent the incident in the first place

There literally isn't anything else they can do. Of course, people will bleat "ensure it doesn't happen again" but of course, it's not like the council deliberately put policy in place to make this happen in the first place.

Get over it. It's horrible and disrespectful what happened, but their brother is no deader now than he was before this happened.
[quote][p][bold]bigfella777[/bold] wrote: Well what else can the council do apart from apologise?[/p][/quote]At a guess, the words "pay compensation" are marching this way as we speak. I'm with you. Unfortunate incidents happen, and tragic though it may be, the options open are Apologise Don't apologise Invent time travel, and go back to prevent the incident in the first place There literally isn't anything else they can do. Of course, people will bleat "ensure it doesn't happen again" but of course, it's not like the council deliberately put policy in place to make this happen in the first place. Get over it. It's horrible and disrespectful what happened, but their brother is no deader now than he was before this happened. gilbertratchet
  • Score: 11

4:54pm Wed 5 Feb 14

forest hump says...

Sorry + flowers = reasonable in my book. What else can Council do?
Sack the offenders = not reasonable

Or £££££....perhap
s that is what's required? = not reasonable
Sorry + flowers = reasonable in my book. What else can Council do? Sack the offenders = not reasonable Or £££££....perhap s that is what's required? = not reasonable forest hump
  • Score: 6

11:17pm Wed 5 Feb 14

robj1969 says...

Bagamn wrote:
That name Jaqui Rayment seems to crop whenever there is a ****=up somewhere in the Council system. Is this just a coincidence?
took the words right out of my mouth.
I'll keep saying it ....vote her out at the next election!
[quote][p][bold]Bagamn[/bold] wrote: That name Jaqui Rayment seems to crop whenever there is a ****=up somewhere in the Council system. Is this just a coincidence?[/p][/quote]took the words right out of my mouth. I'll keep saying it ....vote her out at the next election! robj1969
  • Score: -1

10:17am Thu 6 Feb 14

lisa whitemore says...

The fact Millbrook Cemetery is not a busy cemetery really is no excuse for this to happen. As for those who say get over it,love to see it happen to them and how they would react. This problems only the tip of the iceberg. There shud be an experienced person to deal with Cemeteries....but oh yes he was no longer needed so the only qualified and knowledgable person there was within bereavements they deleted his post so this lot do not have a clue nor do they care!!
The fact Millbrook Cemetery is not a busy cemetery really is no excuse for this to happen. As for those who say get over it,love to see it happen to them and how they would react. This problems only the tip of the iceberg. There shud be an experienced person to deal with Cemeteries....but oh yes he was no longer needed so the only qualified and knowledgable person there was within bereavements they deleted his post so this lot do not have a clue nor do they care!! lisa whitemore
  • Score: 0

10:20am Thu 6 Feb 14

Linesman says...

It is not just the dirt that was dumped on the grave that is the problem, it is also the damage that was done to other graves and headstones by the vehicle that dumped the dirt.

A cemetery is often referred to as 'a final resting place', and contractors should informed as to what is, and what is not, acceptable.

The City Council must know who carried out the work, and that company should be responsible for repairing the damage that they have caused, and make an offer of compensation for the distress caused.
It is not just the dirt that was dumped on the grave that is the problem, it is also the damage that was done to other graves and headstones by the vehicle that dumped the dirt. A cemetery is often referred to as 'a final resting place', and contractors should informed as to what is, and what is not, acceptable. The City Council must know who carried out the work, and that company should be responsible for repairing the damage that they have caused, and make an offer of compensation for the distress caused. Linesman
  • Score: 0

5:09pm Tue 11 Feb 14

magpieblues says...

forest hump wrote:
Sorry + flowers = reasonable in my book. What else can Council do?
Sack the offenders = not reasonable

Or £££££....perhap

s that is what's required? = not reasonable
You are totally wrong as they need to repair all of the damage done to our grave and all the others that were damaged. Don't quote on stuff until you get all your facts straight. There was a lot of damage after it was removed
[quote][p][bold]forest hump[/bold] wrote: Sorry + flowers = reasonable in my book. What else can Council do? Sack the offenders = not reasonable Or £££££....perhap s that is what's required? = not reasonable[/p][/quote]You are totally wrong as they need to repair all of the damage done to our grave and all the others that were damaged. Don't quote on stuff until you get all your facts straight. There was a lot of damage after it was removed magpieblues
  • Score: 0

5:14pm Tue 11 Feb 14

magpieblues says...

gilbertratchet wrote:
bigfella777 wrote:
Well what else can the council do apart from apologise?
At a guess, the words "pay compensation" are marching this way as we speak. I'm with you. Unfortunate incidents happen, and tragic though it may be, the options open are

Apologise
Don't apologise
Invent time travel, and go back to prevent the incident in the first place

There literally isn't anything else they can do. Of course, people will bleat "ensure it doesn't happen again" but of course, it's not like the council deliberately put policy in place to make this happen in the first place.

Get over it. It's horrible and disrespectful what happened, but their brother is no deader now than he was before this happened.
You get over yourself and dont be so disrespectful to the deceased. There was no talk of compensation but now there is so much damaged found including the headstone coming right off the grave yes they should pay to put it right and they have admitted to not checking the anniversary dates when they usually do. Find out the facts before you comment on something you know nothing about that is in the middle of being sorted as we speak
[quote][p][bold]gilbertratchet[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]bigfella777[/bold] wrote: Well what else can the council do apart from apologise?[/p][/quote]At a guess, the words "pay compensation" are marching this way as we speak. I'm with you. Unfortunate incidents happen, and tragic though it may be, the options open are Apologise Don't apologise Invent time travel, and go back to prevent the incident in the first place There literally isn't anything else they can do. Of course, people will bleat "ensure it doesn't happen again" but of course, it's not like the council deliberately put policy in place to make this happen in the first place. Get over it. It's horrible and disrespectful what happened, but their brother is no deader now than he was before this happened.[/p][/quote]You get over yourself and dont be so disrespectful to the deceased. There was no talk of compensation but now there is so much damaged found including the headstone coming right off the grave yes they should pay to put it right and they have admitted to not checking the anniversary dates when they usually do. Find out the facts before you comment on something you know nothing about that is in the middle of being sorted as we speak magpieblues
  • Score: 0

5:15pm Tue 11 Feb 14

magpieblues says...

St.Winch70 wrote:
Ok, you've highlighted the issue and you have had an apology for a mistake that was made. Two choices here - move on, or remain outraged and bitter!
I'm sure that it'll be better for all of you if you do the first.
You get over yourself and dont be so disrespectful to the deceased. There was no talk of compensation but now there is so much damaged found including the headstone coming right off the grave yes they should pay to put it right and they have admitted to not checking the anniversary dates when they usually do. Find out the facts before you comment on something you know nothing about that is in the middle of being sorted as we speak
[quote][p][bold]St.Winch70[/bold] wrote: Ok, you've highlighted the issue and you have had an apology for a mistake that was made. Two choices here - move on, or remain outraged and bitter! I'm sure that it'll be better for all of you if you do the first.[/p][/quote]You get over yourself and dont be so disrespectful to the deceased. There was no talk of compensation but now there is so much damaged found including the headstone coming right off the grave yes they should pay to put it right and they have admitted to not checking the anniversary dates when they usually do. Find out the facts before you comment on something you know nothing about that is in the middle of being sorted as we speak magpieblues
  • Score: 0

5:15pm Tue 11 Feb 14

magpieblues says...

St.Winch70 wrote:
Ok, you've highlighted the issue and you have had an apology for a mistake that was made. Two choices here - move on, or remain outraged and bitter!
I'm sure that it'll be better for all of you if you do the first.
You get over yourself and dont be so disrespectful to the deceased. There was no talk of compensation but now there is so much damaged found including the headstone coming right off the grave yes they should pay to put it right and they have admitted to not checking the anniversary dates when they usually do. Find out the facts before you comment on something you know nothing about that is in the middle of being sorted as we speak
[quote][p][bold]St.Winch70[/bold] wrote: Ok, you've highlighted the issue and you have had an apology for a mistake that was made. Two choices here - move on, or remain outraged and bitter! I'm sure that it'll be better for all of you if you do the first.[/p][/quote]You get over yourself and dont be so disrespectful to the deceased. There was no talk of compensation but now there is so much damaged found including the headstone coming right off the grave yes they should pay to put it right and they have admitted to not checking the anniversary dates when they usually do. Find out the facts before you comment on something you know nothing about that is in the middle of being sorted as we speak magpieblues
  • Score: 0

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