Relief work done at flood-hit graveyard

GRAVE MATTER ... flooding at Jarrow Cemetery has been a major concern.
GRAVE MATTER ... flooding at Jarrow Cemetery has been a major concern.

Graves at a flood-hit South Tyneside cemetery have been safeguarded after a new drainage system was put in place.

The works were carried out after years of flooding, and concerns raised by distressed relatives visiting the memorials in Jarrow Cemetery.

The existing water drainage system has been repaired and a new high volume interceptor chamber installed where water pooled near a footpath leading to the subway.

A French drain has also been installed to the latest burial section to dry out the land.

Coun Ken Stephenson, chairman of the Jarrow and Boldon community area forum, said: “The long-running issue of flooding has caused a lot of upset and distress to people tending to graves of their loved ones.

“The ground was becoming saturated with water especially after heavy rainfall, and the subway from the cemetery to the Low Simonside estate would get flooded.

“It was clear the existing drainage system wasn’t coping. However, I’m pleased to see steps have been taken to prevent further flooding issues.”

Lightweight plastic footpaths will be fitted later this year, where the French drains are installed, to help visitors get to graves more easily.

Coun Tracey Dixon, South Tyneside Council’s lead member for area management and community safety, said: “We appreciate it has been distressing for relatives to see graves of lost loved ones waterlogged.

“We hope these improvements will help to resolve the problems and bring some comfort to visitors wanting to pay their respects.”

Last Christmas, the Gazette reported how one woman’s tribute to her deceased parents was ruined after she found their grave flooded.

Ann Lloyd went to Jarrow Cemetery to place a festive wreath on her mother and father, Eleanor and William Crawford’s grave, but was stunned to find it was under nearly a foot of water.

The 55-year-old, of Stirling Avenue, Jarrow, said at the time: “It’s a cemetery and it’s most upsetting for people to visit their loved ones and find their graves in this state.”

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