Grieving family calls for action on overgrown areas of Sheffield cemetery

When dad Nigel Pryor took daughter Chloe to the family grave where her grandparents’ ashes were scattered, he thought he was helping her grieve.

Friday, 16th July 2021, 2:37 pm

Instead, he had to explain to his upset daughter that they could not get to the plot in Shiregreen Cemetery because the grass around it had been allowed to get so overgrown.

But it left him disgusted by the lack of maintenance at the site, and is urging Sheffield Council to get a grip on the situation.

Since the Star raised Mr Pryor’s concerns with the council, the grass near his plot has been cut back. But he said there were still plots left virtually inaccessible because of overgrown vegetation.

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Shiregreen cemetery

He said: “I visited Shiregreen cemetery on Saturday July 10 to visit my parents' graves and was absolutely disgusted by the lack of maintenance.

"I took my young daughter as she wanted to visit, as she misses her recently passed nan, and we could not even get to her grandad's grave as the weeds were higher than her.”

He said he had cleaned up the grave and put artificial flowers on it along with a plaque dedicated to his parents in January, but at the weekend, it was not possible to even see the grave, he said.

Each of his parents' ashes were scattered on their own respective parents' graves in the cemetery.

Overgrown graves in Shiregreen Cemetery

His dad Jack died in 2013, and his mum, Irene, died in December 2020.

He said: “They’d cut around the main pathways at the bottom end, but the top end had just grown wild. I couldn’t believe it. I complained to the council but heard nothing back from them.

"My daughter was quite upset when her nan died. She’s only 10 years old and she was quite close to her nan. I told her an old story I’d heard, that when a robin appears it's someone who’s died who has come to say hello. That helped her, as does spending five minutes at the grave.

"It’s not just me who has noticed it. It felt a bit disrespectful.”

A grave at Shiregreen Cemetery

Ruth Bell, Head of Parks and Countryside at Sheffield City Council, said: “We apologise that Shiregreen Cemetery has not been at the standard everyone, including us, expects. Unfortunately the wet and warm start of the season led to both the grass and weeds growing at an alarming rate. We have therefore struggled to stay on top of this with the challenges of the pandemic continuing to cause us staffing issues.

“I am however pleased to say that the team have worked incredibly hard to respond to these issues, removing in particular the weeds that have made the graves look so untidy. The team will continue working in the cemetery to make sure that we upkeep these usual standards, with the grounds now looking respectful, tidy and welcoming once again.”

Overgrown graves in Shiregreen Cemetery
Nigel Pryor and daughter Chloe at his father's grave in Shiregreen Cemetery which has been overgrown for weeks