Cathcart gravestones toppled for safety reasons

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A concerned resident has branded Cathcart Cemetery a ‘complete bomb site’ — but the local authority responsible says that gravestones have been laid flat for the safety of visitors.

Isobel Thomas wrote to The Extra this week following an upsetting visit to the cemetery.

She writes: “I was absolutely amazed and shocked — it was nothing more than a complete bomb site and my 71-year-old friend was in tears.

“Hundreds of stones were knocked over, and I believe that East Renfrewshire Council knocked them over.

“Surely the council should show some respect for all our loved ones who are buried there?

“It’s nothing more than a disgrace for such action to be taken.”

A spokeswoman for East Renfrewshire Council confirmed that stones have been laid flat by a local authority team, as part of an “ongoing programme of work”.

She explained: “We constantly test and check the gravestones for stability. Any that are found to be unstable and could be a danger to cemetery visitors or staff are laid down.”

Unsafe headstones made headlines earlier this year following the tragic death of eight-year-old Ciaran Williamson, when a tombstone fell in Glasgow’s Craigton Cemetery crushing the youngster.

Local authorities across Scotland ordered grave inspections, with any unsafe stones laid flat to prevent them becoming more of a hazard or health and safety risk.

But ERC’s spokeswoman added that ‘topple testing’ has been standard practice in Cathcart Cemetery for more than six years, and is an ongoing programme to ensure the safety of those visiting the site.

Cathcart Cemetery opened in 1878 and is divided into two sections — an older burial ground and a newer Linn extension.

It includes the graves of some 238 Commonwealth service personnel from both the First and Second World Wars.