The team at Art Stone Memorials has welcomed news that South Derbyshire District Council has committed to assessing dis-repaired memorials in the six cemetery and five closed churchyard sites under its management

The district council has committed to spending £30,000 over the next five years identifying dis-repaired grave and cemetery memorials in certain cemeteries and churchyards in Church Gresley, Newhall, Woodville, Marston-on-Dove, Etwall, Findern, Aston-on-Trent, Willington and Barrow-on-Trent following concerns that they can topple over and potentially injure visitors.

The council said: “The memorials do not belong to the council – they remain the property of the person/s that has been granted the exclusive rights of burial.

“Since Victorian times, memorials have been erected on graves as a permanent reminder of those buried within,

“It is often wrongly assumed that memorials are permanent structures, installed to the highest standards and will last forever without any need for repair.

“Unfortunately, this assumption has cost the lives of six people nationally in recent years – most of whom have been children – and there have been countless accidents ranging from bruising to several crush injuries and bone breakages.”

Art Stone Memorials has many years’ experience of repairing and renovating memorials for both local communities and individual families and head memorial mason Alex Burlaka agrees with the council’s plans.

He explained: “Over the years we have carried out a wide range of renovations and repairs from village war memorials to cleaning and re-gilding smaller memorials either in situ or in the workshop and we have also witnessed a lot of memorials falling into disrepair in local cemeteries and graveyards.

“Although nobody obviously wants to see a memorial in disrepair, it is most likely because a family has moved away from the area and regularly visiting a grave to check its condition is not a priority.

“The good news is that there is a lot that can be done to clean, restore and re-level memorials as well as re-paint and re-gild granite memorials for example.

“It is a specialised job and it is important to ensure that work is carried out by members of the Register of Qualified Memorial Fixers (RQMF) and the National Association of Memorial Masons (NAMM).

“I hope that this programme announced by the council will also encourage more families to think about how they can ensure a memorial will still be standing for future generations to pay their respects.

“We are in regular contact with South Derbyshire Council and will offer any help or guidance that we can.”