Grieving mother, 30, is ordered to make her baby's grave smaller

Grieving mother, 30, is ordered by cemetery bosses to make her baby’s grave smaller before workmen do it because it is too close to another plot

  • Becky Taylor was told workmen would move the memorial on her baby’s grave
  • The 30-year-old was sent a letter by Orbitas Bereavement Services 
  • She was told the memorial garden on her daughter’s grave was too long 

A grieving mother-of-three has been ordered to shorten her baby’s grave because it is too close to another plot.

Becky Taylor, 30, was told workmen would tamper with her daughter Phoenix Lola Jackson’s memorial plot if she did not make it smaller herself.

Orbitas Bereavement Services told her the baby’s resting place was ‘encroaching’ on another plot at the Children’s Garden in Macclesfield Cemetery, Cheshire. 

Ms Taylor, who has three other children aged nine, four and three, said she was sent a letter which left her feeling ‘fuming’.

She said her baby died seven years ago and until now there were no issues with the size of the memorial.

She said: ‘I did go down to the office, but it’s appointment-only and they’re not there. I was raging.

Becky Taylor, 30, was told workmen would tamper with her daughter Phoenix Lola Jackson’s memorial plot if she did not make it smaller. She is pictured with her three children

Orbitas Bereavement Services told her the baby’s resting place was ‘encroaching’ on another plot at the Children’s Garden in Macclesfield Cemetery, Cheshire

‘They’re not touching it. I wouldn’t let somebody come up to my baby in a pram and just start messing about with them, why would I let someone touch my baby at a grave?

‘It’s been seven years this year and they’ve never had a problem with it, ever. They’re saying the graves are buried opposite each other, so they’ll put one at the front and another one at the bottom, so the coffins are feet to feet, that’s how they do it.

‘They want the graves two feet from the headstone, but the headstone is about half a foot away from where they’re actually buried.’   

Ms Taylor was 37 weeks and five days pregnant when she went into labour on 25 September 2014. 

When she got into hospital, medical staff could not detect Phoenix’s heartbeat and she was stillborn.

Ms Taylor continued: ‘When you’ve paid for the headstone, you’ve paid for the plot for 100 years. So if they’re burying babies in other babies’ plots, then they’re in the wrong anyway.

‘When she was buried, we put a border around straight away before the ground lowered, so we know that we’ve not gone over.

‘Even now, if you took the gravel off the top, even now it’s still not lowered, it’s still raised.’    

The manager of Orbitas has not been in contact since Ms Taylor was forced to cancel a meeting because her child had a doctors appointment, she claimed.

She said he told her to ring him when she was free, but she has since been unable to get through. 

Ms Taylor said: ‘He arranged to meet me down at the cemetery the following week, but I had to take my little one to the doctors.

‘So I cancelled and try to re-arrange it with him, and he just said to me on the phone ring me back when you’re free.

‘But I’ve tried ringing him three or four times now and left him a voicemail but I’ve not heard anything back.’

Councillor Mick Warren, chair of Cheshire East Council’s environment and communities committee said they ‘do make allowances where possible’ but ‘reserve the right’ to remove items placed at memorials.

She said her baby died seven years ago and until now there were no issues with the size of the memorial. Pictured, the letter which left Ms Taylor ‘fuming’

The manager of Orbitas has not been in contact since she was forced to cancel a meeting because her child had a doctors appointment, she claimed. Pictured, the graveyard

Cllr Warren said: ‘As managers of Cheshire East’s municipal cemeteries, the council seeks to do this in the best interests of the whole community and sometimes we have a difficult role to play in deciding what is acceptable under our cemetery regulations.

‘As part of these regulations, we reserve the right to remove any additional items placed at memorials, including fencing and ornaments, and this is made clear to those applying for the purchase of exclusive burial rights.

‘However, we understand that such items can offer comfort to those grieving and as a result have made allowances where possible.

‘At Macclesfield Cemetery there are a number of graves in the children’s section where gardens have been created by those tending to them.

‘Unfortunately, in some cases these gardens are spilling over onto plots that are needed for the burials of other residents’ loved ones.

We have therefore written to a small number of people to ask that the size of the gardens are reduced.

‘We have asked that they take up no more than 2ft (from the head end) of the 3ft grave space and therefore do not block access for other visitors if two such gardens were to be placed end on end.

‘The council has offered its assistance to anyone needing support to make these changes.’      

The council has written to some grave owners to ask them to shorten their plots so the gardens take up no more than 2ft of the 3ft grave space so access is not blocked for other visitors.   

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