Nan’s woe over choked Warminster graves

Cilla Mountstephens, left, with members of her family on the  footpath which leads to Warminster Cemetery where she has six graves she tends

Cilla Mountstephens, left, with members of her family on the footpath which leads to Warminster Cemetery where she has six graves she tends

First published in News by

A grandmother who has suffered many family tragedies is very distressed that overgrown grass and brambles are preventing her from visiting six loved ones’ graves.

Cilla Mountstephens, 64, of West Parade, Warminster, first had to cope with the death of her 17-year-old grandson Jonpaul Preece in 2007, after he was hit over the head with a fence post. A man was later jailed for his manslaughter.

In May this year her son Paul Preece died, aged 46, from a drug overdose in Trowbridge. His death is still being investigated by police.

Two of her husbands, Philip Mountstephens, who also died seven years ago and Raymond Billings-Wakerly, who died last year, are also buried in Warminster cemetery, as are two of her grandchildren, Martin Billings-Wakerly who died at 19 days old and Shakira Billings-Wakerly, who was stillborn.

Mrs Mountstephens said: “I try and go up there every day to lay flowers and to take little gifts. It really helps me to feel close to them all. But now I am finding it almost impossible as the footpath is so overgrown with grass, weeds and brambles.”

She does not have a car and so is not able to reach the cemetery by the usual main road access off the A36 and instead uses Folly Lane.

She said: “It has become a real struggle to get there and I have constantly contacted the highways department but they have not done anything.”

She said other family members, including her grandaughter who has young twins who need a double buggy, had also found it impossible to reach the graves. Mrs Mountstephens said: “It isn’t right that this footpath is so overgrown... I enjoy being there; visiting the graves helps me.”

Wiltshire Council has had many complaints about grass cutting this summer. Its contractors Balfour Beatty Living Places has apologised and brought in 11 more teams to help.

A Wiltshire Council spokesman said: “We try not to cut hedges during the nesting season to avoid disturbing the birds. As the season is now finished these hedges can be cut and we thank those who have brought this to our attention and we will ensure this area is cut back as soon as possible.”

Call the council on 0300 456 0105 or use the MyWiltshire Apphttp://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/report.htm to report issues.

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