Shoreham woman '˜horrified' to find parents' grave turfed over

A mother from Shoreham has been left '˜disgusted' after finding her parents' lovingly maintained grave at Mill Lane cemetery had been turfed over '“ without any warning.

Monday, 16th January 2017, 1:58 pm
Updated Monday, 16th January 2017, 2:02 pm
Carole Ribbans was shocked to find her parents' grave had been turfed over - without any warning

Carole Ribbans was only 19 years old when her father died.

For the past 36 years, she has frequently visited his grave – where her mother was also buried seven years ago – for birthdays, anniversaries, Mothers day and Fathers day, Christmas and Easter.

The 57-year-old said she had, along with her brother, Barry Mitchell, taken pride in keeping the grave well maintained and planted with flowers.

But when Mr Mitchell visited the cemetery to lay a wreath on Saturday, December 17 – just a week before Christmas – he was surprised to find the grave had been covered with turf.

“I must say I was horrified,” Mrs Ribbans said. “When people still go to pay their respects, it needs to be honoured.”

There had been no notice or any indication the graves would be turfed, Mrs Ribbans said, adding that apart from the grass being cut, there is ‘no real maintenance as such’ at the cemetery.

“I just don’t know how they can get away with it,” she said.

Other graves have also been turfed, and she said: “I feel sorry for other people too.

“For some people, that’s where they go to gain comfort.”

Mrs Ribbans, who now lives in Wilmot Road, has lived in Shoreham all her life and also has grandparents and uncles buried in the cemetery.

The turf has been applied messily, with one large piece alongside two other odd bits, she said, adding that seagulls have pecked and pulled up the turf on other graves.

The mother of two, who works in admin for a Lancing company, said she will remove the turf herself, so that the daffodils she has planted will be able to sprout.

Andy Edwards, Adur & Worthing Councils Head of Environment said: “I’m not aware of this lady’s enquiry but suggest she contacts our Bereavement Services Manager, Margi Singh directly, who will gladly investigate her concerns further.”

But he added that, according to rule 22 of the cemetery regulations, within one year of a burial ‘the surface shall be covered with turf and the bare earth shall not be left exposed’.

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