‘We were stood at the gates in tears’

Sarah Brown at the Knowle Hill gate of Kimberley Cemetery.
Sarah Brown at the Knowle Hill gate of Kimberley Cemetery.

A woman who went to visit her grandmother’s grave on what would have been her 90th birthday was left in floods of tears after finding the cemetery gates locked.

Sarah Brown travelled from Manchester to visit the grave with her mum Christine – but said they were both left stood at the Kimberley Cemetery gates in tears, and described the ordeal as “deeply distressing”.

Ms Brown checked Broxtowe Borough Council’s website before leaving, which said the cemetery closed at 8pm.

But when they got there at 6pm the gates had already been locked by Kimberley Town Council – the authority responsible for the maintenance of the cemetery.

She said: “My grandmother was very special to me and to be denied access to her grave on her birthday was not acceptable.

“We just wanted to sit on a bench by her grave and be with her for her birthday.

“She had dementia and only died in May this year so it’s only just started to sink in that she’s gone,” she added.

Ms Brown said her grandmother had lived in Kimberley all her life after she married. She had been buried next her husband, who was a Second World War hero.

The 32-year-old said she called the town council office sobbing, but with it being Bank Holiday Monday there was nobody there.

She then tried to access phone numbers of councillors on the town council website, but said there were none there – something else she found unacceptable.

“Luckily my mother being a councillor was able to get me the phone number of someone who was able to let us into the cemetery.

“But it’s not really the point. It’s not good enough. Grieving relatives should not have to go to such lengths to visit their relatives to commemorate special occasions.

“It was very upsetting. I had come down specifically to see my mum on her dead mother’s birthday and this was one of the things we wanted to do,” she added.

Ms Brown is now demanding answers from the council and is insisting the website is updated.

Chairman of Kimberley Town Council Roy plumb said: “They only tried the gate in Knowle Hill and in fact the gate in Broomhill Road was open.

“They should have gone around the corner – they have got full knowledge of the layout of the cemetery.

“Unfortunately on this particular occasion there was an oversight by somebody with regard to the Knowle Hill gate.

“It is usually the council clerk who deals with it and she was on holiday. I’m not sure whether the responsibility was not passed on or whether there was a misunderstanding. We are sorry she found this upsetting. Anybody would.

“With regards to the contact numbers, it was the previous council, of which her mother was a member, who decided to remove them.”