Memorial plans hampered by rules

NRHN 27-07-12 BE 14 Gordan Lavender by his grandparents grave in Crosshill cemetery.
NRHN 27-07-12 BE 14 Gordan Lavender by his grandparents grave in Crosshill cemetery.

A Ripley pensioner says council red tape has prevented him from fulfilling a life-long 
ambition of paying a lasting tribute to his dead ancestors .

Gordon Lavender wanted to place two eight-inch tall marble vases by the headstones of his grandparents and great-grandparents where they were laid to rest at Codnor Crosshill Cemetery.

But the 79-year-old, who is in poor health, says he has been blocked by bureaucracy - as Amber Valley Borough Council says he must employ a monumental mason to place the £250-a-piece items.

He must also hire a solicitor to prove he is the next-of-kin to his late relatives, complete double sided forms for each grave – and can only then place them if he has received permission from the council.

After one solicitor quoted him £250 for the job, he has now concede defeat.

He said: “If I had just placed it there no-one would have said anything – out of courtesy I called to tell the council what I wished to do. I loved my grandparents , and I just wanted to see a little tribute to them before my time is up.”

Mr Lavender, of Church Farm Road, Ripley, is also a full time carer for his wife Maureen, 77. He said part of his reason for not going ahead with the tributes was because he simply does not have the time to satisfy all the retirements.

But assistant director of the council Simon Gladwin said there is good reason for the rules.

He said: “It is important to have guarantees about who owns graves, and that memorials placed on graves are as safe and secure as possible, so we can maintain the grounds around them without the risk of damaging items placed there. We have successfully worked with bereaved families over many years to achieve the right balance between their desires, and what is practical.

“We appreciate Mr Lavender’s frustration and his personal situation, and we will continue to help him.”