RECENTLY visiting my late wife's grave I was horrified to see the state of Great Malvern Cemetery.

My immediate thought was that vandals had been at work and pulled all the headstones down and that the town council had buttressed them with posts fixed to the rear of each stone.

I was further horrified when, upon making an inquiry of staff, I was informed the council had carried out the work in the interests of safety - what utter nonsense.

I agree with the sentiments expressed by Mr Frank Hill (Your Letters, November 28) that cemeteries are the safest of all public places. In the first place, they are sites where families bury their loved ones with reverence and dignity and, in most cases, the graves are tended by relatives throughout their remaining lives.

Secondly, the areas are generally treated with respect by most of the visiting public.

However, up and down the country, it is sad to see that vandalism does take place and it is not surprising that large monuments can fall on the perpetrators. This is not to say that all the cases reported were due to vandalism but the deaths must have been caused by the falling of quite large stones. It is difficult to see how a child strong enough to pull over a modern headstone between two and three feet in height could suffer any fatal damage.

Surely the remedy is to lock the cemetery at night to prevent public access and to deal with the boundaries to stop children entering; also to make a bye-law requiring children to be accompanied by a responsible adult when entering the cemetery to visit a grave.

Thirdly, the question of insurance should not arise in view of the very low risk factor. The present remedy is out of all proportion to the risk.

Frankly I am devastated by the appearance of the cemetery and the idea which created it had no feeling for aesthetics or respect for the departed. The sooner the site is restored to its original tranquil appearance the better.

RON TAYLOR, Twerton-on-Avon, Bath.