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4-year-old’s precious headstone removed without family’s consent after complaints it didn’t fit cemetery

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Three days after a memorial headstone was placed at a little boy’s grave, cemetery officials had it removed without ever consulting the family.

The reason? Another family’s complaint that the headstone was not “in keeping” with the rest of the cemetery.

British mother,  Jo Corbett-Weeks, 42, is upset and outraged that the specially designed headstone was taken down without her knowledge. Her son, Max Corbett-Gardener, was only 4 years old when he passed away from complications due to his severe epilepsy, according to the Daily Mail.
Corbett-Weeks saved $4,580 to design the star-shaped headstone with a teddy bear, inscribed with a tribute to Max.

Photo credit Newsteam.
Photo credit Newsteam.

“I chose a star-shaped stone because I wanted something suitable for Max – something personal,” Corbett-Weeks told the Daily Mail.

“This stone is just so perfect for my poor little chap.”

The memorial was placed on Max’s grave on May 31 on what would have been his seventh birthday.

“This was like a birthday present to him from me,” Corbett-Weeks told BBC.

Three days later, the headstone, which is in the adult area of the Great Malvern Cemetery where Max was buried so that he could be close to other family members, was removed.

Photo credit Newsteam.
Photo credit Newsteam.

The Malvern Town Council had received a complaint from another family that the headstone was not “in keeping” with the rest of the cemetery.

Corbett-Weeks is demanding that the stone be returned, saying it was removed without her knowledge or consent, according to the Daily Mail.

“I was totally unaware this was going on,” Corbett-Weeks said. “The council did not contact me and it was the stonemason who told me he’d been ordered to remove it. I feel upset, distressed and angry. We have been through so much as a family. I could understand if the grave was uncared for or unsightly, but it isn’t.”

Photo credit Newsteam.
Photo credit Newsteam.

A Malvern Town Council spokesman told BBC the council would not have approved the original application if it had been received in a timely manner. And if the grave was in the children’s part of the cemetery, it would not have been a problem.

“We have a conformity of shapes in our lawn cemetery. We were contacted by people who objected to the shape,” the spokesperson explained. “The longer it stayed up, the harder the process would have been.”

Apparently, it was as much a question of following protocol than an objection to the shape.

“The stonemason in this situation did not have permission to put the stone up – and the stone is not in keeping with the graves in that area,” the council spokesperson explained, according to the Daily Mail.

“By not following the correct process he has caused considerable distress to both families,” he added.

Corbett-Weeks, who has been approached by the council to redesign a new headstone, is heartbroken.

“The headstone meant a lot to me and the family but now we are fighting to have it put back,” she said. “It’s a horrible situation. We just want to have somewhere to grieve.”

Frieda Powers

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