Grieving woman says she cannot mourn in overgrown graveyard

Reporter:

Nathan Rowden

A GRIEVING woman said she cannot mourn her parents as their headstone lies in a ‘depressing’ overgrown graveyard.

Lynne Brierly is distraught that her mum and dad’s resting place has been left to become an ‘overgrown mess’.

The 52-year-old from Plas Tirion, Johnstown, had gone to lay flowers at the grave at the Church of St John in Rhosymedre, only to discover her parents’ burial plot was unkept and surrounded by uncut long vegetation.

Yesterday the Diocese of St Asaph, which is responsible for the upkeep of the graveyard, said it ‘simply cannot afford’ to cut the grass more regularly, arguing it costs the congregation £900 a time.

The graveyard will not now be cut until next month.

But Mrs Brierly was furious.

She said: “The graveyard is a total mess and is very overgrown.

“It’s upsetting. I only lost my dad a couple of years ago but the whole place is depressing and looks like a cornfield.

“There are people going to keep graves tidy and pay their respects but they just can’t get to it.

“I can’t go and grieve for my parents, it’s saddening and unbelievable.”

The church falls under the Diocese of St Asaph, who said funding issues have been the main reason for the unkempt graveyard.

A spokesman for the diocese said: “We understand the concerns of people visiting the burial ground in Rhosymedre and the grass will be cut in August.

“Each time the grass is cut it costs the congregation £900 and because the burial ground in Rhosymedre is now full, the Church receives no income from new burials to help pay for the upkeep.

“In England local councils take on the responsibility of maintaining closed burial grounds but that’s not the case in Wales and we simply cannot afford to pay for more regular maintenance.

“Burial grounds are community assets – they are not just for the church congregation. We would like to see the Welsh Government legislate for councils to maintain closed burial grounds to take this burden away from our congregations.”

See full story in the Leader

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