Family distraught after gravediggers ruin grandfathers grave by digging in a nearby plot

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A family from Cardiff said they are “devastated” after gravediggers ruined their grandfathers grave by digging in a neighbouring plot.

Mel Woolnough, 59, from Rhymney said she “couldn’t believe” the damage to her fathers grave in Thornhill Cemetry caused by workers digging nearby.

Mel says that she often tends to the grave of her dad Ivor Taylor, who died in 2009, and said it’s been upsetting for the whole family after the damage was found by her granddaughter.

She said: “11 years we’ve been going up there, me and mum. We always say we’ve going to look after ‘dad’s garden’, we always make sure it looks nice.

“We take some sandwiches and a little picnic and chat to dad as we say, we take a walk, tend to the garden – just try and make it nice.”



The border surrounding the grave has collapsed and ornaments have been damamaged



Mel said the cemetry manager has offered to replace the ornaments but they are sentimental

Mel said she first heard about the damage from her granddaughter’s other grandparents who had been in the cemetery tending to a different grave. The damage is thought to have happened on Thursday and Mel saw it herself on Saturday February 27.

She said: “I got a phone call from my granddaughter’s other nanny saying that something had happened to the grave and it looked a bit of a mess and we should go up to see.

“They were in shock and said ‘we don’t want to upset you’ but I tried not to think about it too much because everyone’s version of mess is different but I have to say I was shocked.



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“My mum is so upset, we always make an effort to make it look nice and it’s been ruined. We are devastated really.

“We were really shocked, had we not had the phone call it could have been like that for months as obviously we have been going less with lockdown.

“It’s absolutely disgusting, they’ve got no respect. What gives them the right to treat our dad and the children’s grandads grave like that. We are very upset.”

Mel said she has been contacted by the cemetery manager who explained the damage happened while gravediggers were trying to secure the land after digging a new plot nearby.




“The manager of the cemetery has rung me and was very apologetic and said he will fix things but I don’t understand how it happened in the first place,” said Mel.

“He said that they were digging next door because it wasn’t safe, if it’s not safe why is someone being buried there.

“It wasn’t nice for my granddaughter who was with her other grandparents to find it all in a mess.

“They’ve said they will fix and rebuild the borders and will replace the ornaments. How can you replace the ornament? they’re all sentimental and have been bought and put there by family members on different occasions.

“Some were bought for special birthdays, you can’t replace birthdays.”

A council spokesperson said: “A grave at Thornhill Cemetery was accidentally damaged last week, when following a prolonged period of wet weather, the walls of a grave on a neighbouring plot collapsed whilst it was being dug.

“Immediate steps were necessary to make the area safe, and ensure the integrity of nearby graves, and during this process some small personal items were unfortunately damaged.

“Our Bereavement Services team spoke to the family involved as soon as possible, and will be making all necessary repairs to reinstate the grave.”



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