Villagers in Wallop were distraught last week on arriving to the local church graveyard to find over 30 headstones laid down on the ground.
One local told Andover & Villages, “We were told it was a regular process, and that the vicar needed to push the stones over to make sure they were safe, but I cannot believe my eyes, it is so disrespectful and distressing.”
The church has held two meetings, one was an open meeting for all relatives and concerned people and the second was a PCC (Parochial Church Council) meeting, the second saw one of the relatives speak for all of the affected families.
Relative, Claire Cook told Andover & Villages, “There was initially a lot of distress and anguish when I saw what had happened, but the church has accepted that what happened was wrong and they are now taking steps to rectify what has happened.”
Speaking to Rev. Vanessa Cole, she said, “Children and elderly people have been injured by falling headstones in the past, and the process is in place to ensure the safety of all, there will be a quick resolution to this and there is a stonemason on site today (23rd September 2014) to move things forward quickly.”
A spokesperson for the Parochial Church Council said, “The Parochial Church Council is pleased to announce that a number of gravestones are in the process of being restored at St Peter’s Church in order to make them safe. These gravestones had been temporarily laid down after they had become unstable and dangerous, making the churchyard unsafe for those who use it. The Parochial Church Council has made funds available to pay for this in full and is working with local relatives and families to ensure that these gravestones are properly and sensitively secured. It is our prayer that the churchyard will once more be a safe and sacred place in which families can remember their loved ones”.