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Parents’ grief over son’s memorial ban
THE family of motorcyclist Andy Cole have said they have been ordered by Swindon Council to move a £300 black granite memorial from his grave because it might blow away.
Andy died in Kingsdown Road on July 5 of last year, when his silver motorbike collided with a van, after an evening shift at Honda.
The 44-year-old was buried just over three weeks later at Kingsdown Cemetery, where a headstone was put up six months later.
The headstone is fronted by a 12-inch lawn space, which the owners, who pay the council £150 to use the space, may use for memorials and flowers.
And now, Karen Cole, Andy’s widow, and his parents, Terry and Joy Cole, have been told the tailor-made memorial, which weighs seven pounds and has stood in front of the headstone for 11 months, must be moved.
On Monday the family said they were told the 10-inch-high memorial must be bolted to the headstone or removed altogether because it may fall on somebody or blow away.
If this is not done before January 27, it will be confiscated and made available for collection from the cemetery office.
It comes as 1,300 grave plot holders received letters from the council reminding them of regulations for grave spaces at the cemetery.
Terry, 74, of Bolingbroke Road, said: “My wife was upset and my other boy was angry.
“We didn’t want him to go up there in case he got arrested, it’s bad enough now.
“You can see that is not going to blow away.
“I will go and see the council myself. What I thought was, you have got to draw the line somewhere with plastic items, but that is an official memorial.
“It’s been made by a funeral parlour; if they are not going to respect that, what are they going to respect?
“When you consider that we had to pay for the interment, the erection of the headstone, plus you have to pay to actually get it onto the council property, and then they try to say it’s going to blow away or fall on somebody.”
This is not the first time the Coles have faced disruption in their memorial to Andy. In April of this year, flowers laid at the scene of his death were stolen on multiple occasions, causing much distress.
Swindon Council said plot holders sign rules and regulations when they sign up, though Karen, of Farrfield, is adamant she has never received any sort of documentation outlining the terms of her ownership.
A spokesman for the council said: “The majority of people who have loved ones buried at Kings-down tell us that they want the cemetery to be neat, tidy and well maintained.
“We know that whatever we specify will never satisfy everyone and it is not an easy balancing act to achieve. But our staff do their best to be fair in dealing with what can understandably be emotive issues.
“In this particular case we have told the family that the memorial they have on their plot would be fine as long as it was attached to the headstone, which is where it was placed initially, but it has since been moved.”
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