Harworth woman distraught after finding her father’s grave lost under a mound of soil

A Harworth woman is distraught after visiting her father’s grave to find it covered with soil – just weeks after he was buried.

Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 3:24 pm

The woman discovered soil from a newly dug plot in Harworth Cemetery had been put on top of the her late dad’s grave, and his flowers ‘chucked’ out the way.

Stacey O’Keeffe, her mother, and her six siblings were ‘devastated’ after visiting her dad John O’Keeffe’s grave last week to see it buried underneath dirt less than four weeks after he was buried on August 12.

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Stacey and her family were shocked to find their father's grave covered in soil.

Despite lots of empty space around John’s grave, gravediggers had placed all the soil from a new plot only on top his grave without any warning.

Stacey said: “It's disrespectful. I mean, we're still grieving.

“I get that they couldn’t have put it to the other side, because there's somebody buried there - but my dad's also buried there.

“They could have put it in front of others who have been buried, or in front of my dad's grave.

John O'Keeffe's grave was surrounded by grassy areas where Stacey says the soil could have been placed.

“My dad doesn't mean anything to them, but he means the world to us.”

The following day, Stacey and her family moved the soil themselves and returned her father’s grave back to how it was before.

Stacey said: “All we want is to make whoever did this aware of how disrespectful it is and hope it doesn’t happen to anyone else’s loved one.”

In a statement, Harworth and Bircotes Town Council said: “The town council appreciates that not all families are familiar with normal cemetery management practices.

The flowers had been moved to the side by gravediggers.

“The town council staff do not dig graves for burials, only cremation plots; the grave diggers are contractors which the funeral directors organise on behalf of the families.

“In this instance, [we] understand the contractor spoke to the family and explained the restrictions he was working under at the time.

“Contractors work to their own health and safety and method statements within their own industry to carry out their work.

“The Institute of Cemeteries and Crematorium Management confirmed that it is normal practice for gravediggers to put boards down on other plots to use for the soil.

“The Grant of Exclusive Right of Burial does not give ownership of the land to the grant owner.”