Tracy Barnes has vowed to continue to fight a campaign against Solihull Council, despite the authority’s grovelling apology for any distress caused. The 42-year-old woman lost twin grandsons Lorenzo and Jackson on September 20, 2020, and had to remove handmade decorations placed beside their grave at Woodlands Cemetery in the West Midlands town.
Other grieving families also had to remove deeply personal trinkets to avoid losing the items, reports Birmingham Live.
Tracy intends to write to her MP Saqib Bhatti after her petition racked up 500 signatures since Thursday.
“It’s not just me, it’s about everyone else,” she added.
“I’ve spent hours and hours in the garden painting things, everything on their grave is made by me. I didn’t buy anything from anyone, I made every item on there and it took me a long time.”
Tracy said it “wasn’t right” the council were making them remove the handmade decorations for the twins, even if they were being given more time to do so.
At present, the grave includes fencing, stones, angels and a cross – all of which will have to be removed if they cannot fit on a narrow slab.
The gran continued: “We don’t want to go and destroy something that we have worked hard to do.
“They are saying we can put things on the stone but the stone is about a foot wide.
“All these special occasions are coming up and people feel they can’t do anything now.
“It’s not fair. They have already lost their relatives and now they can’t carry on how they would.”
In the petition, Tracy begs with the local authority.
It reads: “This place brings me and other parents great comfort.
“To be told they will remove [items] if we do not is causing so much upset and pain. Have we not gone though enough?
“Just think about the families and what you are putting us through. Think of the parents that haven’t been up there for two weeks because they are heartbroken.”
Solihull Council, a Conservative stronghold, said it hopes the work will be completed by Christmas.
A spokesperson added: “We would also like to reassure families that anything, apart from grave frames, that hasn’t been moved in time will be stored safely for a month and will be available for collection during that time. Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity to store grave frames.
“We will be writing again to all the families who were mistakenly sent these letters to both apologise and outline the correct timeline and procedures.
“In addition to our previous apologies and reassurance, we would like to add some information about the overall maintenance of the cemeteries.
“Turfing usually takes place between 12 to 18 months after burial to allow the ground to settle and is maintained should the turf require replacement.
“However, it is weather dependent and the works scheduled are both to replace those areas where previous turf was not successful and for those graves where turfing is now due.
“We are aiming to have this completed by Christmas as most families would like their plots to be in the best possible condition at this time of year.
“Of course some families would like less maintenance and some would like more. We try and ensure that the cemeteries are well kept and maintained for all of our bereaved families.”