Grave plea to council bosses

Jane Hammill wants the council to provide better upkeep of the cemetery in Castleford. Her mother's grave is in the 'Living Church Yard' section which the council says they cannot maintain as frequently because it's home to flora, fauna and wildlife.  Mrs Hammill says its distressing when she can't find the grave due to the overgrown grass and that it's a hazard for other people trying to find graves as the headstones are about a foot high and mainly hidden by the grass.
Jane Hammill wants the council to provide better upkeep of the cemetery in Castleford. Her mother's grave is in the 'Living Church Yard' section which the council says they cannot maintain as frequently because it's home to flora, fauna and wildlife. Mrs Hammill says its distressing when she can't find the grave due to the overgrown grass and that it's a hazard for other people trying to find graves as the headstones are about a foot high and mainly hidden by the grass.

A GRIEVING daughter is calling on council bosses to regularly maintain an “overgrown” Castleford cemetery.

Jane Hammill, 50, says she has been left “distressed” after grass at the Healdfield Road burial ground was left to grow wild, completely covering her mother’s grave.

Mrs Hammill, of Holywell Lane, said she was unable to lay flowers at the memorial in accordance with her mother’s wishes until her husband Steven cut the grass himself.

She said: “I couldn’t see my mother’s grave. I couldn’t put any flowers on and it was getting more distressing and 
upsetting.

“I have to go because I really miss her and it was her wish to keep it nice. But it was pointless to put flowers on because you couldn’t see it.”

Mrs Hammill said she contacted Wakefield Council three times between May and July and was told it would be cut.

When the couple didn’t see any improvement, Mr Hammill tended the area himself before they went on holiday.

On their return they found the council had cut the grass and responded to their letter, saying the area was part of the Living Churchyard Project and was maintained less frequently due to the growth of flora and fauna.

Mrs Hammill said: “I go up there regularly and I know there might be certain plants that grow when the grass is long, but there’s a park nearby where there’s no gravestones.

“I would like to see it cut at least once a month, I would be happy with that. It’s important I have somewhere to visit and maintain and put flowers on.

“I’m grateful the council cut round it but it still looks a mess. It doesn’t look like a graveyard, it looks like my mother’s grave is in a field.”

Diane Widdowson, service manager for environmental health, said the council was working with the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust to protect the natural habitat of the living churchyard, which was left unmown until plants had seeded.

She added: “The grass was cut on August 3 and has been cut again this week. We will work with families to ensure that, where requested, the immediate area around a grave be trimmed back so that it remains accessible to visitors.

“While we will still maintain the area, it does mean that it will be cut less frequently to allow for the natural development of flora, fauna and wildlife there.”