Disgust at neglect of church graves

St Annes Parish Church graveyard overgrown.
St Annes Parish Church graveyard overgrown.

FYLDE Council has apologised after a church graveyard was left to fall into disrepair.

The maintenance of the iconic St Annes Parish Church grounds were handed over to the council after the graveyard reached full capacity last year, and relatives have expressed anger at the state of the area surrounding the graves.

Norma Wharton, who regularly visits her father’s grave, hit out at the state of the graveyard, saying: “What a disgrace!

“It was upsetting enough to have to go on Father’s Day but you couldn’t see the gravestones for the height of the grass.

“You are already upset when you’re visiting your loved ones, but to then see the state the graveyard is in is disgusting.”

A spokesman for the council said: “This has been a major oversight on our part and for that we apologise.

“We now have an agreement with the probation team who will attend the graveyard to ensure a clean-up operation is completed.

“We apologise for our mistake and insist that we did not want to cause any disrespect to the graves and their visiting loved ones.”

Three teams from the probation service have visited the church grounds this week to recover and restore the graveyard to its previous condition.

The council have now advised that a regular maintenace pattern will continue on a once a month basis which will involve grass cutting, weeding and all-round general maintenance.

The council spokesman added: “This was the previous routine before our mistake and therefore, with regular upkeep, the graveyard will be kept in good condition from now on.”

Parish Church vicar Rev David Lyon said: “We are very pleased that the council is now taking action as we have had a number of complaints. The graveyard is usually immaculately-kept and so people could not understand why it was left to fall into such a state.

“We are now looking forward to it being a regular operation.”