Wellingborough man's upset as contractors leave soil on baby sister's grave

Alan Curtis made a promise to his parents to visit his infant sister's grave

Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 7:00 am

A Wellingborough man who promised his parents he would tend to his baby sister's grave has been dismayed by the state of the plot in the cemetery where she was interred.

Alan Curtis vowed to his mum Avis and dad Peter that he would visit his sister Carol's grave in Doddington Road Cemetery to place flowers - a promise that he has kept faithfully.

But this week he discovered that during work on the path her memorial stone had not only been partially engulfed by soil but the flower vase attached to the grave had been knocked off.

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The soil on the grave

He said: "I first found out about this damage when my nephew phoned to stop me visiting my mother's grave in respect of Mother's Day. He did not want me to be upset about what had happened to Carol's grave and suggested that he tried to clear it up himself out of respect, but I said no as I would try and obtain answers.

"When I went to visit I was approached by the contractor's supervising member of staff, who asked if there was a problem as he could see me taking photos.

"He said that his staff had not removed the flowers and that they had not put soil around the vase. When I asked him to look, he said that it 'must have fallen'.

"I then pointed out the foot mark at the side of the vase and he said he had not realised that they had done that."

The 10inch by 10 inch memorial at the top of the photo with soil from the works

Mr Curtis's nephew had gone to pay respects to his mother, Mr Curtis' other sister Elaine, and Avis on Mother's Day.

He said: "I had to explain to my ten-year-old great nephew, why Carol's grave had no flowers, but so much soil there.

"I have carried out an inspection of the grave with a Norse employee who very kindly met me on site to see what the problem was. It was explained to me that Wellingborough Council had employed contractors to carry out the works at the cemetery and agreed that Norse, although they oversee the management of the cemetery, this work was not in their control.

"If they are removing the soil, I want to be present to ensure it is completed respectfully.

Baby Carol's grave with the mud left by the contractors

Carol Curtis was born on Valentine's Day 1956, but tragically died from breathing difficulties. She was buried in February 1956 with the family making regular visits to tend her grave.

Alan said: "My parents had another daughter but she died in 2012. Before my mother passed away she made me promise to place flowers on the grave of Carol and once I pass to ensure my nephew does the same and his children once he passes.

"Although Carol was only alive a short time, both my parents adored her and were only partially recovered by the time my second sister Elaine arrived and she became my mother's focus of attention especially as they were told that she might not live longer than the age of seven. She actually lived 54 years."

In 1992 a marble vase was removed from the grave and a new one was bought as a replacement. At that time a letter was given to the family giving special permission for the vase to be placed on the grave citing "this vase must therefore not be removed by any member of council staff at any time without permission".

The grave with the mud

Mr Curtis added: "Once again we are in the situation that Wellingborough Council have employed staff, via a contractor, who do not have respect for the deceased.

"They should have respect for the deceased. They went and just chucked the soil on the ground. It is the only grave that has been affected."

Wellingborough Council has been contacted for comment but is yet to respond.

A family photo of Carol's grave and memorial