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Ipswich: Angry sisters accuse borough council of cashing in

13:00 20 November 2012

Janice Poulson and her sister Annette Moules are angry at a £58 cemetery fee charged by the council to approve the inscription on their fathers headstone.

Janice Poulson and her sister Annette Moules are angry at a £58 cemetery fee charged by the council to approve the inscription on their fathers headstone.

Archant

IPSWICH: Angry sisters have accused the borough council of cashing in on people’s grief after they were forced to pay for the approval to add their dad’s name to his wife’s gravestone.

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Annette Moules and her sister Janice Poulson lost their 91-year-old father Sydney Ogilvie on September 25.

Honouring his wishes, the pair buried him in the plot he bought to bury his wife Patricia, who passed away in 1995 aged 69, at Ipswich Lawn Cemetery off Cemetery Lane.

But when it came to paying the bill for re-erecting their mum’s headstone – adding their dad’s name, the date he passed away and the phrase “loving husband, father and grandad” – the pair were “outraged” to discover they would be charged £58 plus VAT for checking the wording.

A council spokesman said the charge is levied across the UK and includes checks to ensure the headstones are placed correctly on the right grave with acceptable wording.

Mrs Moules, of Lancing Avenue, Ipswich, told The Star she felt the council was profiteering and “taking advantage of people’s grief”.

The 67-year-old said: “I object to having to pay for the council to tell me the wording I have chosen for my father’s headstone is acceptable.They are preying on people’s grief.

“I am a pensioner. Luckily we can afford it but there may be other people who can’t and this could put them off getting a headstone.

“It is bad enough losing someone you love without being ripped off while you try to lay them to rest.”

The Ipswich Borough Council spokesman said: “We certainly do not want to take advantage of people’s grief, far from it.

“We are aware it is a particularly sensitive time for people and we do try to handle all business at cemeteries with the utmost sensitivity.”

He said the £58 fee covers the cost of erecting or re-erecting a headstone – checking the owner has actually authorised the change, that the headstone is put on the correct grave and that the wording is acceptable and not offensive. The fee also pays for a council worker to go out and make sure the headstone goes up correctly.

What do you think? Is the fee for the checks fair? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail star letters@archant.co.uk

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9 comments

  • FROM MOST OF THE COMMENTS RECEIVED ABOUT THIS CHARGE IT IS FAIR TO ASSUME THAT THESE ARE FROM PEOPLE ASSOCIATED WITH THE COUNCIL SO THERE IS NO FURTHER POINT IN COMMENTING.

    Report this comment

    Annette Moules

    Thursday, November 22, 2012

  • The charge is a fair one. What happened if it someone it did not belong to just chose to having something added to it or the wrong headstone was altered in error ! This is the service the charge represents. People have to accept nothing is done for free.

    Report this comment

    the opinion man

    Tuesday, November 20, 2012

  • YES AND IN THIS CASE AND MANY OTHERS THEY ARE MAKING MONEY.IT IS DESPICABLE.

    Report this comment

    Annette Moules

    Tuesday, November 20, 2012

  • IF THERE IS A WAY OF MAKING MONEY OUT THE DEAD , YOU CAN BET YOUR BOTTOM DOLLAR RIP OFF BRITAIN WILL FIND IT

    Report this comment

    MIGUEL100

    Tuesday, November 20, 2012

  • The reply from the Council to the newspaper article is very incorrect as the Stonemason and funeral director have already charged me or the removal and re-ercting of the headstone and they carry this task out themselves.THE COUNCIL DO NOT REMOVE OR REPLACE ANY HEADSTONE. IWe had to sign a form to say that the wording for the inscription was correct beore the stonemason would undertake any work. Therefore there is no checking to be carried out.A form was also signed to say that we were the owners of the grave. If a headstone is placed incorrectly then under the new lock down system it is guaranteed for 10 years as it is required by law.

    Report this comment

    Annette Moules

    Thursday, November 22, 2012

  • "Checking the owner has actually authorised the change, that the headstone is put on the correct grave and that the wording is acceptable and not offensive." Unfortunately these things DO have to be done, and of course there will be a cost involved. I actually think it's fairly reasonable compared to some other funeral related costs.

    Report this comment

    RC

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • The council will not puit a headstone back unless you have the deeds for it.In our case we have to pay the council £28 to have the deeds transferred.If you pay to have the headstone replaced by a stonemason and the co-op funeral department have asked you to pay a deposit and have sent you the inscribed message that you wish to have on the headstone and it is incorrect then the stonemason is responsible.I agree nothing is free but making money out of grief is despicable.

    Report this comment

    Annette Moules

    Tuesday, November 20, 2012

  • This is beyond silly. Its a standard charge levied across the UK so why should they be exempt? Council profiteering indeed, what rubbish.

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    Mr M

    Tuesday, November 20, 2012

  • The co-op funeral service charge for re-erecting a headstone and the Ipswich Borough Council also charge £28 to have the deeds of the grave put into the next of kin's name(s).The Co-op also ask and suggest what should be written on a headstone so if it was not acceptable why do they ask for half the amount of the bill to be paid before erecting the headstone and send a copy of what you would like on the headstone? If the headstone is not put back properly then the stonemason is responsible.A phone call to the co-op funeral department or stonemason does not cost £58 plus VAT to ascertain the information that the council are saying they are charging for.

    Report this comment

    Annette Moules

    Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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