State of cemetery is 'heartbreaking'

6:49am Saturday 24th June 2006

By Lawrence Marzouk

A 49-year-old woman has expressed her heartbreak at the state of a Barnet cemetery where her father and brother are buried.

The cemetery has become so overgrown that paths and graves are inaccessible.

Lorraine Trevarthen, of Albion Avenue, Muswell Hill, said this week that most of the Bells Hill Burial Ground, in Bells Hill, Barnet, is covered with 7ft-tall grass, and that she is unable to take her wheelchair-bound mother to the graves.

"It is heartbreaking to see it like that," said Ms Trevarthen.

"It has never been like this before you can't even see the graves, you cannot walk in between the graves, the grass is all dry and the fence is down.

"I spent two hours today just cutting what grass I could around my dad's and brother's grave and pulling out weeds and grass from across part of the path.

"I filled a rubbish container with what I did but there's just too much."

The burial ground was run by St Stephen's Church, in Bells Hill, Barnet, but became full last December, and an application was made to pass control over to Barnet Council.

This was supposed to happen in March, but although the council says it was aware of the move, it did not receive notification of the change until May 23, and has only just started to work on the land.

A council spokeswoman said: "Contractors were in early last week and they are in for two weeks. We are putting together a maintenance programme, and it will be accessible by next week."

But Ms Trevarthen remained sceptical at the news. "I will believe it when I see it," she said.

The church was unavailable for comment.

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