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Leading Worcester councillor's anger over "undignified" cemetery
THE elected politician in charge of Worcester's cemetery has revealed his own personal battle to clean it up - after admitting he feels "ashamed" at its "undignified" and "macabre" state.
Conservative Councillor Andy Roberts, who became cabinet member for cleaner and greener one month ago, said he is battling his own personal sorrow after seeing the condition of the Astwood Road site first hand.
Cllr Roberts said during his visit he saw the awful condition of a grave where he knew the woman buried there - a sight which prompted him to act.
He also insists his criticism over the state of the cemetery, which started three weeks ago, is "not an attack on the Labour group".
Labour were in charge of the city council until the start of last month.
Cllr Roberts, speaking during a full council meeting, said: "When I went around it myself I saw the mum and dad of (a lad called) 'Jason', who is in one of the graves.
"They said to me 'you've got to look at this', and pointed to a grave near to them.
"Through neglect the soil had dropped about three feet, it was a macabre sight - I actually knew the lady who was buried there, and that's what ashamed me."
During the meeting he also said his criticism of the site was not just confined to the length of the grass.
"When you come out of the chapel, the flowers are dead," he said.
"When you look at the Garden of Solace, it's full of weeds.
"Sure, grass does grow faster if it's warm and wet, but there's more to it than that."
He was prompted into his comments by the opposition Labour group, which raised the topic.
Councillor Geoff Williams, the former Labour deputy leader, had asked Cllr Roberts if he was "ashamed to have focused on the length of the grass" in his previous criticism of the site.
The council is now working on an action plan to improve the overall look of the cemetery after families contacted your Worcester News with concerns over it.
Last month we reported how 73-year-old Sylvia Hayes, from Weston-super- Mare, was confronted by 4ft-tall grass which obscured the grave of her brother, Kenneth Meek, when visiting the cemetery where her mother is also buried.
Among the other phone calls was Janet Whyte, 75, who lives in Droitwich and had her parents, grandparents and brother laid to rest at the cemetery.
She used her own shears to deal with some of it.