Grieving family told to take headstone down because it's 5cm too tall

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A grieving daughter has been left devastated after council bosses ordered her to take down her mum’s headstone –  because it’s 5cm too tall.

Amanda Wilson says Mid and East Antrim Borough Council chiefs are refusing to let her mother “rest in peace.”

She says erecting the heart shaped memorial to her 61-year-old mum had offered “closure” to the pain of losing her.

But she says her grief has been compounded after officials from the council in her Northern Ireland home said the headstone is too big and must be lowered, reports Belfast Live.



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The gravestone the council says is 5cm too tall

 

Frances Wilson passed away in June after a difficult battle with cancer.

Now her daughter is fighting the council on whether her mum’s headstone at Victoria Cemetery in Carrickfergus is too big and must be lowered.

Amanda said: “My mummy fought so hard in her life and now I have to fight for her.

“This grave is me doing my best for her and now the council are making me suffer the grief of losing my mother all over again. They’re doing this over 5cms in the air.”

Kirkwoods Monumental Sculptors, who erected the headstone, said the monument is a standard 36inch model mounted on a 4inch base which has never caused an issue before.



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Victoria Cemetery

 

Ingrid Campbell, at the century-old stonemasons, said they would “rather not disturb any grave” to do what the Council are asking, adding that they are “causing a drama which is upsetting the family and all over 5cms”.

She said a granite ‘sub-base’ has been used to raise the base and headstone slightly to ensure they are not damaged during grave maintenance including grass cutting. That sub-base is used in all their memorials, she added, and has never caused an issue in any other cemetery – whether council or church-run.

Ingrid added: “For many people putting up a headstone is part of the closure they need. Now they’re being told they have to lower it. If the Council had a query over this gravestone they should have rung us and raised it before they passed it.”



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Grieving daughter Amanda said her mum Frances’ gravestone has helped her with closure

 

She said that the plan for the grave, which included the gravestone, base and sub-base, and a cheque, was sent to Mid and East Antrim Council on July 4.

When they returned from the Twelfth fortnight – the annual Northern Irish holiday – on July 22, the permit was waiting for them.

However, she says they were rang by the Council around two weeks ago to be told the headstone was “way over the limit” of 110cm.

Kirkwoods said the total height of the memorial, the headstone and the base, is 110cs, but the total height is 115cms when the sub-base is added in.



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Victoria Cemetery in Country Antrim



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The stonemason that produced the gravestone says it is ‘standard’ size

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The sub-base was shown in the plan, but not the dimensions. The sub-base is only several centimetres high.

A Mid and East Antrim Borough Council spokesperson said: “Our thoughts are with the Wilson family at this difficult time and we are working closely with them and the stonemason to find a resolution.”

A source at the Council indicated that the headstone design was approved “as it adhered to cemetery regulations on submission”.

However, they added that after installation, “it is in breach of these and is over the permitted height”.



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