Man lost relatives' graves in overgrown Gravesend cemetery

First published in News
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News Shopper: Photograph of the Author Exclusive by , deputy news editor

A man has slammed Gravesham Council after grass in a cemetery grew so high he couldn't find the graves of his relatives.

Ron Tillman, 67, of Gouge Avenue, Northfleet says "it is disgusting" that the council sent five top councillors to Disney World in Orlando Florida in April but cannot mow the grass, which has grown to three foot high, at Gravesend Cemetery in Old Road West.

The group included Labour council leader John Burden and four others who went on the £15,000 trip ahead of plans for a massive theme park called Paramount Park on the Swanscombe Penninsula.

Gravesham Council claimed the cost of the visit will be met from the costs of processing the planning application.

Mr Tillman, a retired paper mill worker, said after talking to the cemetery secretary he called the council to find out why the grass had not been tended to and says he was told it was because of "cuts to council budgets".

He told News Shopper: "I cannot believe that the council have the money to send these councillors to Disney World but not cut the grass in our cemeteries. It is disgusting.

"I was furious because I visit the cemetery regularly and it has been so bad that I could not find my brother and cousin's graves.

"I told the council I pay my rates and expect a service to be done and I was just told 'that's the way it is'.

"I just thought my God look at this, it's at least three foot high, that proves how long it was till it was last cut, it annoyed me."

Mr Tillman regularly visits the graveyard with his wife Linda, 65, who also has her parent's ashes in the cemetery.

He added: "Most of the Paramount Park development is in Dartford so I don't know why these councillors cleared off on a jaunt to Orlando.

"They could have just gone to Disney Land Paris to look at a theme park."

A Gravesham Council spokesman added: "We do cut the grass at our cemeteries but the combination of rain and sunshine, as every gardener knows, leads to very rapid growth of grass at this time of year.

"Our grass cutting has to be scheduled around funerals but we are cutting the grass as fast as resources and weather allow."

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