Published: August 9, 2010
Council accused of 'desecrating graves' at Burnham church

A furious Burnham-On-Sea resident has this week accused Sedgemoor District Council of desecrating his father's grave after staff mowed over flowers and plants marking the spot where the cremated remains were buried in a town churchyard.

Alex Turco told that it is the second time this year that council staff have destroyed ceremonial plants left next to his father's grave - along with five others - in the Garden of Remembrance outside St Andrew's Church.

The late Mike Turco, who died in 2008, was a well-known and influential face in the area, having been leader of Sedgemoor District Council between 1977 and 1979.

Alex has written to the council seeking a full written apology and an assurance that the gardeners will take more care in future.

He told "I am extremely unhappy with the fact that once again Sedgemoor District Council has desecrated my father's grave in this churchyard after having done the same thing in May this year."

"It has also desecrated the graves of several other people who have marked the plots where cremated remains are buried with flowers and plants in the Garden of Remembrance. This has been achieved by careless mowing during the last cut of the grass."

"Sedgemoor's operatives are tasked with mowing usually show courtesy for the dead and their families by avoiding plants and flowers but in the latest cut have failed to do so."

"All plants and flowers have been destroyed, leaving only scorched and barren earth. Whilst I appreciate that accidents sometimes happen, this is the second time this year. No such incidence occurred in either 2008 and 2009."

"The carelessness is completed by the fact that one of the trees marking the edge of the Garden of Remembrance has also been knocked over."

Alex added: "I am distraught by the fact that our plant, which has been destroyed, had been on my father's grave in all the summers since his death, having been alive whilst my father was alive. Emotionally, its growth represented the continuation of my father. This cannot be replaced."

"I am not prepared to tolerate such carelessness and lack of respect from Sedgemoor District Council towards the dead. If it wasn't that it would be a complete waste of their time, I would report this matter to the police as criminal damage."

"I want to know what Sedgemoor District Council is going to do so that this does not happen in the future."

"As a minimum, Sedgemoor District Council should issue a full written apology to all the families affected by this outrage and give assurances that operatives engaged in mowing in churchyards will be better trained to avoid destroying flowers and plants."

The damage was found on the same day that Burnham's Civic Service was held when the current leader of Sedgemoor District Council and other dignitaries walked past the remembrance garden.

Alex is pictured above besides the spot where ceremonial plants were destroyed by the council's gardeners


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