A PENSIONER who visited her teenage daughter's grave in Ilkley cemetery was horrified to find yellow sand dumped all over it and the bulbs she had planted missing.

Jean Smith, 78, said: "It really upset me and I could have burst into tears - It looked a real eyesore and had tractor tyre marks running through it."

Mrs Smith has hit out at maintenance staff whom she accused of letting the cemetery deteriorate into a mess.

"It used to be a tidy cemetery but they let it go. It is a blooming mess and I don't think there is any need for it to be so untidy. They don't seem to care," said Mrs Smith, of Wyvil Road, Ilkley.

A spokesman for the cemetery service said that the problem had been caused by the lack of topsoil when contractors were instructed to top up those graves which had sunk a few inches.

At the time it was very wet, turning soil into mud. The contractors used seeded sand hoping that the grass would grow through it quickly.

But when Mrs Smith returned to the cemetery last week she said that the sand was still there and the grave still looked untidy.

The grave contains Mrs Smith's late husband, Joseph, who died in 1992, and her daughter Josephine who died tragically on her birthday in 1978.

The 19-year-old was killed in a road accident at the junction of Wheatley Lane and Leeds Road, Ben Rhydding, when a car driven by her boy friend, who was also killed in the crash, collided with a bus.

"She was a lovely girl and a very, very much loved daughter," said Mrs Smith.

Mrs Smith said that her other daughter rang the cemetery service to complain about the grave and was told it would be sorted out.

The cemetery spokesman told the Gazette that if Mrs Smith could contact them again with the exact location of the grave, they would clean it up.

But Mrs Smith said that the problem had been caused by the digging of a grave next to her daughter's, causing it to sink.

"It sank when they dug the grave out next to it and took too much out of the sides. My husband has been buried there for eight years so it would not have sunk naturally," said Mrs Smith.

She added: "It is very distressing when you see it like that. I had a lot of bulbs in and they have disappeared as well.

"My husband was a gardener. If there is such a thing as heaven, he will be looking down from there and getting very angry about it."

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