Mourner upset at 'run down' cemetery

By Robyn Rosen, October 7, 2010

A mourner has spoken of her shock at the state of Edgwarebury Lane Cemetery after visiting her granddaughter's grave.

Fiona Siegal went to the cemetery last week to visit the grave of her granddaughter who passed away four years ago, aged four.

"I was shocked to see how run down and neglected the whole place has been allowed to become," she said.

"The graves were overgrown with weeds and no effort had been made to tidy up paths and spaces between lines of gravestones. The earth was bumpy and uneven and it was difficult to reach the graveside because of this.

"Instead of being laid out in neat lines the graves were in irregular lines making the appearance of the place look ragged and neglected. Especially at this time of year when people visit the graves of their late relatives some effort should have been made to tidy the place up out of respect for the departed as well as their near and dear ones."

A neglectful attitude pervades the entire place

The cemetery is shared by four communities: Belsize Square Synagogue, West London Synagogue, the Spanish and Portuguese Jews Congregation and Liberal Judaism, the section Mrs Siegal visited.

In August, the communities won an eight-year battle to extend the site.

Mrs Siegal said she also visited the cemetery office which was "extremely untidy and the floor was covered in thick dust. I appreciate that to keep the office clean is not a priority but it was symptomatic of the neglectful attitude which pervades the entire place," she said.

"I know that only part of the area is allocated to Liberal Judaism, but nonetheless they should ensure that their own areas maintain an acceptable standard of maintenance regardless of the rest.

"We also visited the United Synagogue cemetery at Bushey to visit our parents' graves and the contrast between the two cemeteries could not have been more dramatic."

A spokeswoman from Liberal Judaism said: "Liberal Judaism takes all comments seriously and deals with them on an individual basis.

"We received a complaint on Monday morning about Edgwarebury Cemetery, which we share with three other organisations, and have already contacted the family concerned."

Last updated: 5:15pm, October 7 2010