Fears over gravestone safety at Kilsyth cemetery

editorial image

The state of gravestones in Kilsyth Cemetery has sparked fears that a potential tragedy might not be far away.

Rafal Malec, a journalist who lives in Kilsyth and took photos of the graves, said: The barriers surround a large number of unstable gravestones and are an awful eyesore at the historic graveyard, which has served the town’s community for at least 250 years.

“I’ve been told the bright orange barriers have been up for some time now.

“Unstable graves can be very dangerous, especially to children, who have a lot more time on their hands during the summer holidays.

“A few years back a schoolboy lost his life after being crushed by a tombstone in one of Glasgow’s historic cemeteries.”

That tragedy saw Ciaran Williamson, aged eight, die “instantaneously and painlessly” according to his pathology report, of injuries sutained at Craigton Cemetery in Cardonald. His mother told a fatal accident inquiry that she had let him out to play for no more than ten minutes.

A similar accident in Arkansas last year claimed the life of another eight-year-old boy who had been attending a birthday party at Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church. He went into the Dry Creek Cemetery to play when the accident happened in the town of Lynn, about 100 miles northeast of Little Rock, according to the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office.

The notices, posted on each of the unstable monuments in Kilsyth, state “it may be necessary to lay this stone flat or trench (set lower part of memorial place into the ground) or support it to prevent injury or damage”.

A council spokesperson said: “We carry out a programme of checks and risk assessments on headstones and, where we identify a stone which is not secure, we take immediate action to make it safe.

“This involves installing a post on either side of the headstone with a plastic banding around to keep it upright or, for larger stones, placing a highly visible fence around it with a warning sign.

“We then contact the family to advise them of the situation and the need for a permanent repair.

“If the family have not taken steps to resolve the situation within 21 days, we will dismantle the headstone and place it securely within the ground.”

Kilsyth Cemetery sees around 70 burials per year.