Father's grave ordeal apology

A FATHER who challenged safety checks on his daughter's grave has been given an apology after it was found the headstone actually meets current standards.

A FATHER who challenged safety checks on his daughter's grave has been given an apology after it was found the headstone actually meets current standards.

Paul Copsey, whose baby daughter Joanna's plot is in the children's section of Ipswich Cemetery, was told the grave had failed safety checks only to discover there was nothing wrong with it.

His story comes a week after another Ipswich resident told The Evening Star his wife's grave failed a first test only to pass a second one.

It was also revealed last week how the actual plots, not the headstones, are being damaged by mechanical diggers rolling over graves to dig out new ones.

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Mr Copsey first discovered Joanna's memorial was one of those to have failed the tests when he went to visit her graveside in August last year.

He said: "There was a notice up to say these plot numbers are deemed to be unsafe and then I got a letter (from Ipswich Borough Council).

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"I conducted my own test by rocking the stone and thought there was obviously something wrong, so I got in touch with the Co-op stonemason and spoke to the chap who put the stone up originally."

Mr Copsey, of Wimbourne Avenue, Ipswich, said when the stonemason checked the memorial he told him there was nothing wrong with it.

He said: "By that time I was pretty angry and quite upset. I had to write down my thoughts in a letter.

"What bothers me is not necessarily the way they have gone about it, but there must be other people who have gone through what we have gone through. I would be quite interested to find out how many people have had to ask a stonemason to look at their memorials.

"Nearly all the memorials in that part of the cemetery are probably no more than about three feet high and I really don't see how much of an injury they could cause. Besides I don't want members of the public on my memorial anyway.

"Why put people through all this anguish over what appears to be nothing really."

Cemetery manager, Mike Grimwood, sent a letter of apology to Mr Copsey.

He said the problems occurred during the first 200 graves tested when it was not listed what the actual fault was.

Mr Grimwood said: "There are several different types of faults that can occur to the graves and in some cases it is simply a problem with soil coming away from the headstone. In these cases we replace the soil ourselves and make the headstone sturdy again.

"Unfortunately in this case a letter was sent out to ask for the owner to get it repaired.

"There were about two or three occasions where this happened and we admit we should have handled things better. The way we test the graves has changed since then and it should not happen anymore."

n. Have you had a problem with a loved one's grave? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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