Family's outrage at overgrown grass in Rhosymedre graveyard

Reporter:

Charlie Croasdale

FAMILIES have slammed the state of a graveyard where the grass has grown taller than some headstones.

The grass in the cemetery at St John’s Parish Church, Rhosymedre, has not been cut since the turn of the year due to pressures on church funds.

One resident reported seeing an elderly woman on her hands and knees tending to a grave with scissors.

The Rev Kate Tiltman, from St John’s, said the matter was “in hand” and that the grass would be cut in the coming days thanks to a one-off £1,000 payment from Cefn Community Council.

But with each cut costing a four-figure sum and a full graveyard meaning the church is not getting income from any new burials, Cefn councillor David Taylor has also called on the community of Rhosymedre and Cefn to volunteer and ensure the cemetery does not fall into this state ever again.

Paul Edwards, a nearby resident who tends a family grave on the site, said he was “disgusted” by the situation.

“To my understanding they don’t have a groundskeeper to tend to the grass, leaving it to grow like this,” he said.

“When I visited a family member’s grave last week, I saw an elderly woman on her hands and knees with a pair of scissors tending to her late husband’s grave.”

Fellow local resident Janine Martin said: “My mum and I were walking in the area and we were told of a frail, old man who had gone to tend his wife’s grave with a pair of garden shears – the grass was that long.”

Cllr Taylor said: “I hear the public concern and I am also concerned, but to be fair to the church, they have very little funding and a cut costs money.

“In order for this not to recur, we should be calling upon the local community to volunteer to help maintain an area such as the cemetery at St John’s.

“The grass has grown to an extraordinary level and I for one would be more than happy to go and help out. There is no doubt the situation needs addressing.”

Cllr Derek Wright said: “I’ve had several constituents complain to me about the state of the yard, which is getting ridiculous.

“The community council won’t be able to keep funding cuts, so there needs to be another way of financing the cemetery maintenance.

“It can’t be allowed to get this bad again though – it looks a mess.”

Mrs Tiltman said however: “I’d like to assure concerned family members that this matter is in hand and we hope to have the cemetery cut by the weekend.

“Members of our congregation have family buried here and I understand their concerns, but we are struggling financially as there are no more plots available on the graveyard.

“It is only ashes scattered on there now.

“We have had delays in getting the grass cut due to the weather and delays with the firm we had been working with.

“It costs £1,000 for one cut and we are grateful to the community council for providing the funds for this cut.

“However, we are currently looking at only one or two cuts per year.”

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