Perth and Kinross Council apologises after bereaved mum forced to strim unkempt graveyard

Gwen took a strimmer to make her way into Abernyte Cemetery
-Credit: (Image: Gwen Tilbury)

A bereaved parent was forced to hire a strimmer to tackle the state of a Perthshire graveyard where her son is buried.

Overgrown grass and wild weeds at Abernyte Churchyard have been slammed as a “distressing sight”.

Gwen Tilbury said she was in disbelief when she visited the grave of her son Richard McCreadie (28) who was killed in a road traffic accident in 2009.

She said: “We would dread our bereaved families being faced with this distressing sight.”

Last week, Gwen (64) decided to take matters into her own hands.

She said: “I actually hired a petrol strimmer; it was that bad.”

“It’s just absolutely shocking. I’d gone up about three weeks previously and it was bad, really bad.

“I’d gone up with a friend and he said ‘I’ve never seen anything like this for a graveyard’.

“I did what I could to try and get in.

“Even to be walking to the grave, you could be walking on other people’s gravestones because you can’t see anything.”

Richard McCreadie, who died in 2009, with mum Gwen Tilbury
Richard McCreadie, who died in 2009, with mum Gwen Tilbury -Credit:Gwen Tilbury

Perth and Kinross Council said grass had been left uncut in cemeteries due to staffing pressures it is now seeking to resolve.

It apologised for any upset caused to mourners and pledged to ensure cemeteries are maintained more regularly as intended.

Gwen - who now lives in West Lothian and works as a funeral arranger - fears that when council teams eventually cut the grass at the graveyard “they’re going to damage the stones because they can’t even see where their machines are going because it’s so bad”.

Gwen Tilbury
Gwen Tilbury -Credit:Gwen Tilbury

She also worries visitors to Abernyte Cemetery could be injured tripping over a gravestone.

She said: “There are people coming back and forward on a weekly basis. It’s health and safety.

“It’s just awful. You can’t see where you’re going at all.”

Perth and Kinross Council charges £1000 for a full adult lair and £1,043 for a burial.

On top of that, families pay a considerable amount for a headstone.

Gwen said: “People paid a lot of money for that ground and the stones that are on it.

“There is absolutely no way that these stones will remain undamaged with this situation.

“If you’re selling the ground for the price you’re selling it, and people are spending thousands on a stone, it needs to be protected.”

Perth and Kinross Council explained that due to staffing pressures it has been unable to do fortnightly grasscutting and monthly strimming at cemeteries as normal.

A PKC spokesperson said: “We apologise for any upset that mourners visiting council-maintained cemeteries may have felt.

“As we have advised, recent warmer, wetter weather conditions have led to additional growth of vegetation and together with current staffing pressures we have not been able to progress grass-cutting works as normal – which for cemeteries we maintain is scheduled as a fortnightly grass cutting and monthly strimming around headstones. We are working to resolve the situation at present to ensure cemeteries are maintained as intended.”