Pensioner’s plea for cemetery bench

Knottingley Cemetery
Knottingley Cemetery

AN ANGRY pensioner is calling for benches to be installed in Knottingley cemetery after claiming elderly residents visiting loved ones’ graves are too “exhausted” to pay their respects.

John Hayes, 65, of Womersley Road, Knottingley, says his trips to the site are “ruined” as he’s exhausted after walking from the cemetery car park to his family members’ graves.

The granddad-of-two said: “I think it’s disgusting that other cemeteries in the district have benches and Knottingley doesn’t.

“I go there to visit my son, who died at five-days-old, my mother and my stepmother, but by the time me and my wife get there we’re exhausted.

“Why won’t Wakefield Council do something for the people in Knottingley?

“A friend of mine asked the council if he could put a bench in the cemetery with a plaque in remembrance of his wife, but they told him he couldn’t.

“They offered to put a bench in but he would have to pay them £1,200 for the plaque, I think this is appalling.

“There are so many people who want this bench in the cemetery that I don’t think it’s too much to ask.

“I’m lucky because I can still drive to the car park but there are people who can’t drive anymore and they have to walk from their homes.

“I think it’s very sad that nothing has been done about this and it’s about time it changed.

“Visiting graves should not be stressful and the council should respect our needs.”

The Womersley Road cemetery – which opened in 1859 – is run by Wakefield Council.

Glynn Humphries, the council’s service director for cleaner and greener, said: “We are sorry if any residents have difficulty using our cemeteries and we will do all we can to help to improve access.

“We are currently reviewing the location and condition of benches in our open spaces across the district, including cemeteries.

“We hope to be in a position to look at putting benches at Knottingley cemetery in the near future.”

For more information call the bereavement team on 08458 506 506.