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Fury at overgrown cemetery as husband claims: 'I couldn't find my wife's grave'

By Dayna Farrington | Halesowen | News | Published:

A pensioner has hit out at Dudley Council for failing to maintain a cemetery in Halesowen.

John Halls, 80, said the grass was so long in the St John's churchyard he could hardly find his wife's grave to leave flowers.

A spokesman for the council said they carry out twice yearly cutting and maintenance at the site.

Mr Halls said: "The grass is overgrown you can hardly see the graves. It has been like that for the last couple of months.

"When I contacted the council about the state of it, they said they don't have the funding to maintain it.

"The grass is three foot high – it is an absolute disgrace.

"Over the weekend, I had to go and buy a strimmer to cut back the grass to try and find my wife Doreen's grave so I could put fresh flowers on it. Her ashes were put in her mother's grave 10 years ago and I attend the grave regularly.

"We had a job to even find the grave – never mind to try and leave flowers for her!"

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Councillor Karen Shakespeare, cabinet member for environmental services, said: "When we took over the responsibility for maintaining the church yard, it was overgrown and in a state of neglect.

"Since then we have implemented a twice yearly cutting and maintenance programme, focussing on the more recent graves and frequently used routes.

"Like many other councils, we don’t get any additional resource to maintain closed church yards, and have to work around our existing commitments to deliver this work."

Dayna Farrington

By Dayna Farrington
Senior reporter based at Wolverhampton

Reporter for the Express & Star based at Wolverhampton.

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