Felixstowe gravestones in poor condition

INSPECTIONS of memorials at Felixstowe cemetery have found a number in a dangerous condition and it is feared they could topple over and injure someone.

INSPECTIONS of memorials at Felixstowe cemetery have found a number in a dangerous condition and it is feared they could topple over and injure someone.

Several have had to be laid down on the ground in case they should fall over, while repairs are taking place to others to improve their stability.

The town council is having to inspect every single memorial stone and all ornamental masonry at the cemetery in Langley Avenue to comply with new health and safety regulations.

It has even purchased a special machine - a Teleshore tester - which is used to put pressure on the headstones and other memorials to see if they move.

Town clerk Susan Robinson said the council's staff were working very closely with families who have memorials to relatives and also liaising with the town's monumental masons over repairs and ways to avoid problems in the future.

The council's records were being used to trace families when a problem was identified with a monument.

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Because of the nature of more recent construction of some memorials, the problems have tended to arise with the newer stones rather than some of the older memorials, many of which had stood safely for the best part of a century.

Mrs Robinson said: "There are a number of memorials which have been laid down and there are memorials which are unstable and where we are talking to families about what can be done.

"We are trying to make as little a problem for the families as possible - it is a complex matter and we are trying to be as sensitive and helpful as we can and minimise the difficulties."

Graves belong to the council as landowner, but memorials belong to the families.

The check of all the stones is as necessary for the safety of those who might be visiting graves to tend them or contemplate as it is for council staff who work in the cemetery, looking after the area.

Mrs Robinson said a meeting had been held with the monumental masons and it had been agreed that a new fixing system for memorials would be introduced by January 1.

Some masons were also using the new anchoring system and it was hoped others would begin using it as soon as possible, and this would prevent future problems concerning stability.

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