Mystery over headstone scars

MATTHEW LITTLEWOOD
Last updated 05:00 14/01/2014
headstone
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SHOCKING JOB: Timaru resident Paula Wells wants to know who damaged her father’s headstone – and then attempted to repair it.

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A Timaru woman wants to know who was responsible for vandalising her parents' headstones and then doing a "botched" repair job.

Paula Wells visited the Waimate cemetery over the weekend after her aunt informed her of the damage. "She had seen chunks taken off the headstones.

"Someone has since done a patch-up job but it was botched. It looked really rushed; they didn't even bother to match up the materials," Mrs Wells said.

"I'm really upset by this . . . my father served in World War II. He didn't deserve this treatment."

Waimate district parks and recreation manager Graeme Watts said the council was not responsible for the damage or the repair job.

He believed the damage might have been done about a month ago, while the repair job would have been last week.

"Someone appears to have done this of their own accord . . . it's a bit of a mystery. If the council accidentally damages someone's headstone, then we will pay for the replacement but this is a tricky situation," he said.

In the last financial year, the council spent about $60,000 on maintenance of its two cemeteries.

Mr Watts said the council maintained the fields and surroundings at its two cemeteries but the headstones were the responsibility of the families.

"This is up to the families and owners. It's not our role . . . if they have any issues, they can get in touch with a stonemason," Mr Watts said.

Mrs Wells said she wanted the person responsible to apologise.

"As it stands, we will have to pay for the replacement out of our own pocket," she said.

"It's not fair on us and it's not fair on the council. I would like to know who did this."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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