Bereaved Kent families 'devastated' at discovering Iwade graves of loved ones are to be turfed over

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Bereaved families in Kent say they're 'devastated', after discovering the graves of their loved ones are going to be turfed over.

The cemetery behind All Saints Church in Iwade, near Sitingbourne had its first burial in May last year.

Now the site has had time to settle  the council says it will be made into a lawned cemetery  as it was originally designed.

It means flowers, displays and memorabilia left by headstones will have to be removed leaving already heartbroken families devastated.

Dozens of people affected say they were never told this would be the case, with signs in the cemetery making clear that flowers and tributes are allowed within the area of the plot.

Marley Mahoney buried his son at the cemetery

Marley Mahoney had to bury his little baby boy Ronnie, who was a stillborn, but was soon told to remove tiny teddies put down in tribute with the grave replaced with turf.

"It's wrong the way they're treating us.

"That's that person's last resting place so for that family, whoever that may be, they should be allowed flowers or border.

"It shouldn't be down to the council, if we own that plot, we own it."

Dorothy Ransom said, "We chose the graveyard because of where it is because of what it offers us but we're not being able to do what we want to do.

"We're not asking for the moon all we want is to be able to care for our graves and we can't do it.

"All we're being told is no."

Paige Evans who started a petition which has gained hundreds of signatures said, "In our family we was taught not to walk over somebody's grave let alone run a mower over it."

Tracy O'Neill who lost her father said, "we wasn't told anything, we were only told you couldn't have anything over a certain height.

"When you come over here you wanna pay your respects and you're told that you can't, they obviously don't have loved ones here otherwise they would look at it differently.

"My dad loves his giraffes and even a couple of ornaments would be nice, you don't want to stare at a blank piece of grass. You wan't to have your memorial there. It's very frustrating.'

A spokesman for Swale Borough Council said: "Iwade was designed to be a lawned cemetery, with graves being turfed over after a year when earth on the plots has settled and been topped up to level where necessary.

"This is set out in the regulations and information provided to the funeral directors who are the initial point of contact with bereaved families when booking a funeral.

"We are aware of a few individual graves where the regulations have not been met and will work sympathetically with them to resolve the situation."

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