Anger as grave is found overgrown

Ann Turner opposite her sisters grave.
Ann Turner opposite her sisters grave.

ANN Turner decided to mark the birthday of her late sister by putting flowers on her grave.

But her hopes were dashed when she arrived to find overgrown bramble bushes obscuring her sister’s headstone.

Ann, 53, said the condition of the grave, at Wingate Cemetery, had left her elderly mother distraught.

Council chiefs promise that the matter is in hand.

Ann’s sister Janet Speckman was just 14 when she died in 1972 from a tumour which began in her leg.

Ann, from Christchurch Place, in Peterlee, said her late father Norman used to tend to the grave and after she and her husband Fred split three years ago, it was left to her and her 76-year-old mother Ann Speckman, of Horden, to clear it, but it was now getting too much.

Durham County Council adopted the graveyard, at Wingate’s Holy Trinity Church, a few months ago.

The mum-of-two and grandmother-of-one approached Durham County Councillor for Wingate, Leo Taylor, for help. “I told my mother not to go to the cemetery because it’s too upsetting, all we want is to get to the headstone,” said Ann, who is on sickness benefit.

She said Coun Taylor said the grave had been cleared, but when she and her mum later visited, she found that her grandmother, Florence Speckman’s grave had been cleared, but not Janet’s.

Coun Taylor said the graveyard was overgrown before the council adopted it and added: “Council staff have started to strim down the bushes, but our lads can only get in when the weather is reasonable. It’s ongoing.”

Council bosses are also keen to speak to the family.