Michael Boddy tells of heartbreak at finding earth dumped on top of plot

Michael Boddy (right) at his wife’s grave in Utley Cemetery, which was damaged following excavations to the neighbouring plot. Back (from left) family members Chris Batt, Aimee Batt, Lorraine Batt, Mikey Batt and Matthew Boddy

Michael Boddy (right) at his wife’s grave in Utley Cemetery, which was damaged following excavations to the neighbouring plot. Back (from left) family members Chris Batt, Aimee Batt, Lorraine Batt, Mikey Batt and Matthew Boddy

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by

A family was left distraught by damage to a loved one’s grave after Council workers excavated the neighbouring plot.

Michael Boddy said a huge mound of earth had been dumped on his late wife Carol’s grave in Utley Cemetery, Keighley.

The 56-year-old said the digging had also caused part of her plot to collapse.

Mr Boddy, of North Dean Road, Keighley, said the many memorial ornaments, lights and flowers placed on her grave had been removed and dumped in a mud-spattered pile.

“I know this work needs to be carried out, but it was the way they’d done it,” he said. “It was disgraceful, and completely disrespectful.”

Mr Boddy, a former doorman, said he and his wife were married for 37 years and had seven children.

Mrs Boddy died in her sleep in May last year, aged 57. She had been suffering from a serious, worsening spinal condition.

Mr Boddy said he and some of his children discovered the damage to her grave.

“It was total devastation, I just burst into tears,” he said. “Everything we’d put on the grave – flowers, solar powered lights, plastic vases, cherubs – had been thrown onto one side. Some of it was broken and covered in mud.

“There was plenty of space nearby for them to dump the earth from the new grave, they didn’t have to pile it on my wife’s plot.

“Part of my wife’s grave had subsided, so they were within a foot and a half of exposing her coffin.”

John Scholefield, Bradford Council’s bereavement and amenities manager, said: “We have every sympathy with anyone who is upset by cemetery excavations, but staff often have no alternative but to temporarily store the soil from an excavated grave on an adjacent plot.

“We take every care, as we did in this case, to carefully remove any items from the grave and store them in a safe place until the soil can be removed. In this case none of the items were damaged and they were later returned to their original position.

“In very wet weather and with graves so close together it is common, despite the shoring, for there to be some slippage of material from one plot into the adjacent excavation.

“If this results in any settling of soil, we will reinstate it at a later date to restore it to its original level.”

e-mail: newsdesk@telegraphandargus.co.uk

Comments (6)

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8:25am Thu 13 Feb 14

orteus says...

Another " they put the soil on my loved ones grave story" dont seem to sound heartless, but where do they expect them to put it??? and where do they think they put the soil from their loved ones grave when it was dug??? , it went on someone elses grave!!!
Another " they put the soil on my loved ones grave story" dont seem to sound heartless, but where do they expect them to put it??? and where do they think they put the soil from their loved ones grave when it was dug??? , it went on someone elses grave!!! orteus
  • Score: 6

12:07pm Thu 13 Feb 14

cookie_brighton says...

they put the earth they remove from a grave where I live on a tarpaulin, so when they backfill the grave any earth left over can then be removed, then lift up the tarpaulin ..........no damage caused......simples.
they put the earth they remove from a grave where I live on a tarpaulin, so when they backfill the grave any earth left over can then be removed, then lift up the tarpaulin ..........no damage caused......simples. cookie_brighton
  • Score: 13

12:15pm Thu 13 Feb 14

mr-dog says...

Another reason to opt for cremation.
Another reason to opt for cremation. mr-dog
  • Score: -2

12:24pm Thu 13 Feb 14

alive and awake says...

A little bit of care and common sense should be used, but I suspect most Council workers are somewhat demoralised, and show lack of interest as a result of poor leadership. this goes right to the very top.It's a shame but you come across it whenever you have any dealing with any Council department.
They simply do not understand Customer Service, and the fact that we are all Customers, and are entitled to good customer service.
A little bit of care and common sense should be used, but I suspect most Council workers are somewhat demoralised, and show lack of interest as a result of poor leadership. this goes right to the very top.It's a shame but you come across it whenever you have any dealing with any Council department. They simply do not understand Customer Service, and the fact that we are all Customers, and are entitled to good customer service. alive and awake
  • Score: 9

3:27pm Thu 13 Feb 14

Mixter says...

There is usually a mini-digger and a wagon when they are grave digging. So to show a bit of decency, why do they not load it onto the wagon, tip it into a heap, then load it back on to fill the grave? They HAVE to remove part of it anyway, as it doesnt all go back in, so why not remove the lot temporarily, and not leave a $hit tip?
Bradford Council are the worst ive known for this.
There is usually a mini-digger and a wagon when they are grave digging. So to show a bit of decency, why do they not load it onto the wagon, tip it into a heap, then load it back on to fill the grave? They HAVE to remove part of it anyway, as it doesnt all go back in, so why not remove the lot temporarily, and not leave a $hit tip? Bradford Council are the worst ive known for this. Mixter
  • Score: 5

3:52pm Thu 13 Feb 14

Smell the coffee says...

Mixter wrote:
There is usually a mini-digger and a wagon when they are grave digging. So to show a bit of decency, why do they not load it onto the wagon, tip it into a heap, then load it back on to fill the grave? They HAVE to remove part of it anyway, as it doesnt all go back in, so why not remove the lot temporarily, and not leave a $hit tip?
Bradford Council are the worst ive known for this.
Wouldn't that increase the cost of the burial having to move soil to and fro? I appreciate there will be a small amount of soil to move but not a tonne
[quote][p][bold]Mixter[/bold] wrote: There is usually a mini-digger and a wagon when they are grave digging. So to show a bit of decency, why do they not load it onto the wagon, tip it into a heap, then load it back on to fill the grave? They HAVE to remove part of it anyway, as it doesnt all go back in, so why not remove the lot temporarily, and not leave a $hit tip? Bradford Council are the worst ive known for this.[/p][/quote]Wouldn't that increase the cost of the burial having to move soil to and fro? I appreciate there will be a small amount of soil to move but not a tonne Smell the coffee
  • Score: -2

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