Tombstone testing on the way

BEREAVED families in Somerset could soon discover supports attached to the headstones of loved ones. Sedgemoor District Council will be carrying out safety checks to closed churchyards across the area within the next few weeks.

BEREAVED families in Somerset could soon discover supports attached to the headstones of loved ones.

Sedgemoor District Council will be carrying out safety checks to closed churchyards across the area within the next few weeks.

Headstones will be checked for stability and if any stone is found to be potentially unsafe, family members will be contacted so they can decide how to secure it properly.

Warden of St Mary's Church in Wedmore, Dennis Johnson, said: "We have two very old family tombs in the closed part of the churchyard, which we need the council to look at. They have been listed and are very old, but I honestly don't know how old.


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"The last burial in the churchyard took place in the 1950s and we now use the cemetery off Cheddar Road.

"Most of the families still live in Wedmore so they will be easy to contact but there are a few I think we might have trouble getting in touch with."

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Churchyards at St John the Baptist Church in Axbridge, St Leonard's Church in Shipham, St Mary's Church in Wedmore and St Gregory's Church in Lower Weare will all be tested in the coming months, along with other churchyards in Mark, East Brent, Burnham and Bridgwater.

Specialist equipment will be used during the 'topple testing'. A pressure of 35kg will be put on the memorial. If there is a problem and the family cannot be contacted, it will be repaired by the council and a joint will be put on it to anchor it securely in place.

The work is expected to start in the next few weeks and be finished by the end of February.

Warning signs informing families of the work will be put up at the churchyards.

For more information on memorial testing call Sedgemoor District Council on 01278 435383.

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