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Sons’ graves are restored
4:00pm Thursday 12th April 2012 in News
TWO mothers whose children’s headstones were vandalised have thanked the stonemasons who renovated them free of charge.
Devizes funeral directors Charles and Philip Winchcombe read in the Gazette about the plight of Julie Barnett and her daughter Kylie Mortimer.
Mrs Barnett’s son Charlie died, aged three, in 1996 of a heart condition and Ms Mortimer’s two-and-a-half-year-old son Callum died in 2008 after a respiratory infection. Both boys are buried next to each other in Devizes Cemetery and the mothers have created a little shrine around the graves.
But they were horrified when both headstones were vandalised in August 2010. Someone had used great strength to push the gravestones backwards. Cemetery staff had propped the headstones with wooden stakes but the two women were deeply upset by the damage, especially as they could not afford to have the monuments repaired.
Mike Aiston, the town council’s parks superintendent, who has responsibility for the upkeep of the cemetery, approached funeral directors Charles and Philip Winchcombe and they offered to repair and reset the headstones for free.
They renovated the memorials, replaced the fading lettering on Charlie’s stone, and firmly fixed them in place using the latest ground anchor system technology.
Charles Winchcombe said: “Nothing is vandal-proof but anyone would have a job to shift them now.”
Mrs Barnett and Ms Mortimer were overwhelmed when they returned to the cemetery last week and saw the gravestones restored.
Mrs Barnett said: “There were tears, but this time they were tears of joy. I can’t thank the Winchcombes enough for what they’ve done.
“We haven’t been to visit the graves since the damage was done but now it will be a joy to come back here.”
Police have not been able to trace those responsible for the damage but anyone with information is asked to contact Devizes police via the 101 non-emergency phone line.