Mother heartbroken after her deceased 4-year-old’s headstone was removed because someone complained
Worcestershire, United Kingdom: A grieving mother’s heart was broken when her son’s star-shaped gravestone was removed because someone was offended it was negatively affecting the uniformity in the cemetery.
4-year-old Max Corbett-Gardener suffered from an extreme case of epilepsy and died in 2012. His mother, Jo Corbett-Weeks, 42, who works as a barmaid saved $4000 to have a unique headstone made for her child.
Max’s headstone was put up on his memorial day, which is May 31, and his mother says it was the best choice for her little angel. It was a beautifully carved marble stone with a teddy bear holding a star. The boy loved his teddy to bits. Jo had wanted to part with him with this memory, but it was heartlessly taken away three days later.
As it turns out, another family made a complaint about the headstone not being “in keeping” with the rest and the Great Malvern Cemetery staff had it ripped out — without notifying Max’s mother.
“I chose a star-shaped stone because I wanted something suitable for Max — something personal,” said Jo. “This stone is just so perfect for my poor little chap.”
“I was totally unaware this was going on. The council did not contact me and it was the stonemason who told me he’d been ordered to remove it. I feel upset, distressed, and angry. We have been through so much as a family. I could understand if the grave was uncared for or unsightly, but it isn’t.”
And when Jo spoke to the authorities in charge, they refused to listen and stood by their decision.
The heartbroken mother wanted her baby to be near other family members, so she had him buried in the section where adults were laying. She was eventually informed that the stone would have been approved only for the children’s section.
“We have a conformity of shapes in our lawn cemetery,” a spokesperson for the Malvern Town Council said. “We were contacted by people who objected to the shape. The longer it stayed up, the harder the process would have been. It was a very difficult decision to remove it but one we had to make straight away.”
They say they would have prevented this from happening had they known about the installation before the child’s memorial.
From the complaint, the other family did not have a problem with the shape of the stone. They were only unhappy because the council had side-stepped the rules.
Eventually, the council expressed “great sympathy” for the mother and her son, but the mason had not spoken to them before putting the headstone up.
“It wasn’t necessarily an objection to the shape but why we appeared to be applying one rule to one family and other rules to another,” the spokesperson said.
“The stonemason in this situation did not have permission to put the stone up — and the stone is not in keeping with the graves in that area. By not following the correct process he has caused considerable distress to both families.”
Since Max’s headstone had been so inconsiderably taken down, the crushed mother was willing to insist that the council change its mind, but nothing could be done.
“The headstone meant a lot to me and the family but now we are fighting to have it put back,” she said. “It’s a horrible situation. We just want to have somewhere to grieve.”
The council said that in the weeks to follow, the mother would have to sit with them and discuss a new headstone design for Max.
This strong inspirational woman was the mother of three children.
Now, she only has one left since her daughter, Zoe, also passed away at the age of 17 back in 2016.
Currently, Jo lives with her second son, TJ.
Rest In Peace little angels.
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