Family fury as grave is piled with earth

Ryan Cummings' grave in Westwood Cemetery
Ryan Cummings' grave in Westwood Cemetery

THE distraught family of a Wigan boxer who died four years ago say his memory has been disrespected by a mound of earth being piled on his grave.

Ryan Cummings, who represented England as a boxer, was found hanged in 2008 and was buried at Westwood Cemetery, Ince.

His family visit his grave virtually every day but last week they were devastated to find a large pile of soil had been put on his grave to allow another burial to take place.

But bosses at Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust, which manages the borough’s cemeteries, say that this is standard practice and that everything was put back to the way it was found after the burial at an adjacent grave.

They said that they tried to contact the family of Mr Cummings to let them know about the plans but because they are not deed holders for the grave their contact details were not on file.

But the 34-year-old’s family say that this is no consolation and putting soil across another grave in the first place is not acceptable.

Ryan’s dad, Alan Cummings, said: “What has been done to Ryan’s grave shows a complete lack of respect for his memory.

“We can’t even begin to describe how we feel about this pile of rubble being dumped on the place that we go to remember our loved one.”

Louise Harrison, Ryan’s sister, said: “This has been completely traumatic for us and Ryan’s case is still on going with the police, so this has just added to our upset.

“We have spent a lot of money on making his grave look nice and we spend a lot of time there so all of this has caused us distress.”

On Wednesday evening a note was put on Ryan’s grave to say that part of it would need to be removed to allow another internment.

This meant that the earth removed when digging the adjacent grave would be temporarily put in a box on top of Ryan’s plot, but in order to safely lay the box the kerb stones put up by the popular dad’s family had to be taken out.

This was to be put back as it was by Friday.

A spokesman for Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust said that it is standard practice to put the soil from a new grave into a soil box on an existing one.

In this case they said that the Trust went over and above its responsibilities by putting back the kerb stones it had removed and doing so within a very short space of time.

He added: “Requests to open graves for burials can be received with as little notice as two working days.

“Sometimes the process of excavating a grave affects neighbouring graves and memorials and they need to be removed to provide a safe working process for our grave diggers and for funerals to take place.

“On this occasion the number we had on file for the grave deed owner was unobtainable when it was rung.

“We posted a notice on the grave with the required information for the family to make contact.

“When no-one made contact we removed the kerbs on the grave to allow the neighbouring burial to take place safely.

“When a grave is dug a soil box is placed on the adjacent plot, this is standard procedure to contain the spoil and prevent damage to other memorials.

“Once the funeral has taken place the soil box is removed and the grave then returned to the condition before the adjacent funeral took place.”