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Cemetery bosses deny standards are slipping

Published by in English ·

Questions about how Worcester’s cemetery is being run have been answered after a crisis meeting.

Separate anonymous tip-offs to both your Worcester News and the city council claimed standards had been slipping at the 63-acre Astwood Road Cemetery.

Among the claims were that the wrong music was played during a service at the crematorium, while the electrically-operated curtain – which draws to conceal the coffin – failed.

The city council says all the issues have now been resolved.

Council officers, councillors, funeral directors, and crematorium representatives were called to a meeting by the chairman of the cemetery liaison committee, Mike Layland, after the council received an unsigned and anonymous letter detailing some of the incidents reported to this newspaper.

It was addressed to the council’s managing director Duncan Sharkey.

A unanimous vote was taken at the meeting on Tuesday, March 29, stating that there were no issues with the cemetery and improvements to the service had been made since the “historical” incidents had taken place.

Councillor Mike Layland, who is also city mayor, said he was “happy” the cemetery was being run “correctly and properly”.

“These incidents were in the past,” he said. “It’s always regrettable if anything should go wrong – it should never happen but sometimes it does. But improvements have been made and the service is getting better.”

He said the computer system governing the music had been improved while the curtain fault had been down to a blown fuse.

The crematorium lobby had also been sound-proofed, and the gardens improved with more grass cuts now scheduled for the entire site.

He said people with any concerns about the cemetery would “be listened to” if they got in touch.

A spokesman for funeral directors AV Band said a representative had attended the meeting “along with other committee members”.

The spokesman also said that as the meeting was private, he was unable to discuss the issues raised, but none of the complaints related to services they had arranged.

Ian Yates, city council parks and cemeteries manager, said: “The city council has resolved all the issues with those people affected.”




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