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Home   Sheerness   News   Article

Sheerness family's anguish after Ian White's grave at Sheppey Cemetery churned up by digger by Swale council contractors

05 March 2014
by Emma Grove
A Sheppey widow is numb with shock after a digger was driven over her husband's grave – leaving it churned up and covered with tyre marks.
 
The family of Ian White, who is buried at Sheppey Cemetery in Halfway, went to visit him on what would have been his birthday.
 
But when they arrived, they were distraught to find his grave had "gone" and been replaced by a muddy mess.
The appalling sight that greeted the family of Ian White at his grave

The appalling sight that greeted the family of Ian White at his grave

Swale council, which is responsible for the grounds in Halfway Road, has apologised to the family and promised to rectify it as soon as possible.
 
The family said they were told the digger was there because the groundsmen were making space to bury someone nearby.
 
Mr White's daughter Hannah said: "I'm devastated. It was just awful because of the lack of respect and the whole thing is insensitive and cruel."
A digger was driven over the grave at Sheppey Cemetery

A digger was driven over the grave at Sheppey Cemetery

Alan White was the first to find the distressing scene when he went to lay flowers for his brother, who passed away aged 47 from motor neurone disease in August 2009, on Friday.
 
There was no headstone to mark the spot as the family has been saving up to get one, but there was a plaque and trinkets that had been left there by his two daughters, Hannah and Emily.
 
Hannah, 21, said: "There were sentimental things like ornaments which had been moved into two separate piles, but not neatly, and a couple of things were broken."
Ian White died from motor neurone disease

Ian White died from motor neurone disease

She said it was as though they felt it was OK because they had moved the trinkets, but the worst thing is that they drove over the grave.
 
Mr White's widow Sharon, of Victoria Street, Sheerness, said: "They have moved his stuff so you can't even see there's a grave.
 
"There's tyre marks from the digger right the way across it. They had put boards over the other graves nearby but not on his.
 
"I feel in shock and just numb. My daughters were crying – my husband's body is in there and I just can't believe they drove over it like that."
Ian White’s wife Sharon, centre, with daughters Hannah, left, and Emily

Ian White’s wife Sharon, centre, with daughters Hannah, left, and Emily

The grandmother-of-three went to try and tidy up the area on Sunday and bought top soil and bricks to put it back in place.
 
She said she understands other graves need to be dug, but said if it is going to involve driving a digger over another one that it should be done by hand.
 
The family confronted the groundsmen, who they claimed did not say sorry.
The grave was left churned up and covered with tyre marks

The grave was left churned up and covered with tyre marks

Cllr David Simmons, Swale council's cabinet member for environment and rural affairs, said: "We sincerely apologise for the distress this has caused to the families involved.
 
"We have spoken to our contractors who carried out the work, and while the poor weather has contributed to the situation, we have made it clear this is unacceptable.
 
"Works will be undertaken to rectify the damage at the earliest opportunity."

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