A mother had to be rescued after she sank into mud while visiting her baby son’s grave.
Michelle Marshall was tending her son Bailey’s headstone at Ballyvester Cemetery in Donaghadee, Co Down, Northern Ireland, on New Year’s Eve when her legs were stuck in mud and wet sand.
She was pulled out by her sister and a passer-by after a suspected drainage problem at the cemetery.
Ms Marshall, from Millisle, Co Down, said she had complained repeatedly about the state of the cemetery to the council that maintains it.
She had attempted to place flowers on Bailey’s grave on what would have been his 12th birthday.
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He was born prematurely on December 31, 2005 and died from an infection 33 days later.
She posted images and video footage on Facebook of the muddy conditions at her son’s grave.
‘I am more angry right now than I’ve ever been,’ she wrote.
‘It is my son’s 12th birthday today and I went to his grave In Ballyvester Cemetery with his flowers and balloons and ended up being buried in it nearly up to my knees.
‘I had to be pulled out by my sister and another man and don’t even have shoes any more. They are buried with my son.
‘You can’t imagine what it feels like to go to your baby son’s grave to be faced with this on his birthday. I am completely broken-hearted.’
Ms Marshall told the BBC the grave has always been a ‘sludgy mess’ and that the problem had worsened after recent digging of a new grave in the next plot for a burial on Boxing Day.
In a statement, Ards and North Down Borough Council, which runs the cemetery, apologised to Ms Marshall.
Officials met Ms Marshall on Tuesday evening to discuss a plan of action. Temporary ground protection is set to be installed at the grave on Wednesday and work to install new drains will begin in spring or summer, the council said.