Headstone testing under review

MANAGERS at Ipswich cemetery are looking at new ways of testing headstones to see whether they are safe.Families have been left fuming over the last few years after being told that many headstones were unsafe and that they had to pay to have them repaired - or the headstones themselves would be laid flat.

MANAGERS at Ipswich cemetery are looking at new ways of testing headstones to see whether they are safe.

Families have been left fuming over the last few years after being told that many headstones were unsafe and that they had to pay to have them repaired - or the headstones themselves would be laid flat.

And the row was given fresh impetus earlier this week when a masonry expert said more scientific measures should be adopted to ensure the stones were safe.

Alan Connor, masonry manager for the East of England Co-operative Society said specialist equipment should be used to test whether headstones were safe, rather than staff simply trying to push over headstones.


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His comment came after another council - St Edmundsbury - came under fire for a policy of sticking notices on broken memorials for unsuspecting family members.

Mr Connor branded the council's system - of pushing the stones by hand before using a specially calibrated machine - “unscientific” and said it caused distress to families.

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He urged the council to reconsider its testing policy and only use the machine to give more reliable results.

Mr Connor said: “The testing method the council uses leaves a lot of questions for a lot of families.

“Simply pushing a stone is not good enough. How hard a stone is pushed is difficult to determine.”

Ipswich council's deputy manager of bereavement services, Jayne Double, said the borough was looking at new machines to measure the pressure on headstones.

She said: “At present we do use a manual test to check how stable they are - although that could change once we have looked at the new equipment.”

n. Have you been told your loved one's grave is unsafe? Do you think new ways of testing should be found? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook St, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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