Widow hits out at state of Jarrow Cemetery

Sylvia Beckett feels South Tyneside Council has been neglecting the cemetery.
Sylvia Beckett feels South Tyneside Council has been neglecting the cemetery.

A South Tyneside widow has hit out over the state of Jarrow Cemetery, as leaves and litter surround her husband’s grave.

Sylvia Beckett, from Harton, South Shields, lost her husband Kenneth Beckett, 54, to a heart attack 10 years ago and has accused cemetery bosses of allowing the area around his grave to fall into a state of disrepair recently.

Sylvia Beckett is angry at the state of Jarrow Cemetery.

Sylvia Beckett is angry at the state of Jarrow Cemetery.

The 61-year-old mum of three said leaves and litter have been left lying around graves – but council chiefs say the problem has been caused by recent bad weather.

She said: “I lost my husband Kenneth after he suffered a heart attack.

“It costs an absolute fortune to get people buried, then you try to do your best by keeping it tidy. But since December last year, I have had to pick leaves up and I can’t understand why the cemetery won’t pick the leaves up.

“I have been bringing bags of them home in an effort to try to clear the leaves.”

Mrs Beckett said there is also litter and a fallen tree making the cemetery look untidy, which undermines the effort her family make to keep Kenneth’s grave in a good condition.

“There is a tree lying across someone’s plot,” Mrs Beckett added

“I think things like that should be moved as a mark of respect. I have just had enough.”

A South Tyneside Council spokesman said the mess has been caused by the bad weather.

A spokesman said: “High winds over the winter have caused litter and leaves to be blown around more than usual.

“However, we mechanically sweep footpaths in our cemeteries to keep them clear of leaves and also regularly empty the litter bins and litter pick as required.

“We would be happy to liaise directly with this lady and will raise her concerns with our Bereavement Services team and the Friends of Jarrow Cemetery Group at their next meeting later this month.”