A mum was left "devastated" after finding her son's grave completely flooded when she went to visit on Mother's Day. Rebecca Kelly found her son Ben's grave in a foot of water when she went to visit on Sunday, March 19. Rebecca, who spent several hours draining the 28-year-old's grave at Huntingdon Road Cemetery after going to lay fresh flowers at the site, has called Cambridge City Council's failure to maintain the grave "disgraceful" and called on the local authority to upkeep maintenance.

Speaking to CambridgeshireLive, she said: "I just stood there shocked - the flowers dropped out of my hand and I started crying. I didn't know how we were going to turn it around. We couldn't just leave it like that. I was devastated, it was Mother's Day, and we only lost him at Christmas. I was heartbroken; I felt so angry."

"Myself, my daughter and my niece spent three hours on our hands and knees emptying the water out from the grave. We used the vases to get the water out.

"We then thankfully found a pile of compost hiding behind a shed at the site so we ferried 21 bucket loads by hand and filled in Ben's grave so it looked nice again.

"Once it was done, we were so happy we'd turned it around. If we hadn't found this pile of compost we would've had to leave it. but there was no way I was leaving it like that."

Rebecca acknowledged that with it being "a recent burial", the ground would take some time "to settle and that sinking can happen" but said she could not excuse the fact that she had alerted Cambridge City Council on several occasions to the "low-lying soil".

She said: "I understand it has rained a lot, but if Ben's grave had been maintained as it should be by the council then we would not have had to witness such a sorry sight. What the council have done is unacceptable, disrespectful and lazy."

Rebecca had called the cemetery twice over the course of two weeks, and had been "reassured" that Ben's grave would be filled up "once more".

She said: "I also contacted the funeral directors who said they would contact the cemetery on my behalf."

Owners of a neighbouring plot claimed that Ben's grave had been flooded for "at least" a week. Rebecca added: "I have since exchanged numbers with them and they will inform me in the future if Ben's grave is in such a sorry state again. I definitely want to escalate this. It's hard enough losing my son, you shouldn't have to fill in his grave."

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Councillor Alex Collis, Executive Cambridge City Councillor for Open Spaces, Food Justice and Community Development, said: "I was shocked and upset to hear about the experience that Rebecca and her family had when visiting Ben's grave this weekend. We are incredibly sorry that this has made an already difficult day even worse, and we have been in contact with the family directly to apologise.

"We carry out regular grave checks and top up soil as required or when contacted, but it is not always possible to anticipate what impact particularly bad weather like we had at the end of last week may have on specific graves.

"This is because different parts of the grounds respond differently in bad weather, particularly due to having clay soil.

"We pride ourselves on our high standards and, had we anticipated that the rain would have had such an impact on a particular grave, we would have made sure to address this earlier. This is an incredibly unfortunate isolated incident, for which we apologise to Ben's family."

2023-03-22T11:25:19Z dg43tfdfdgfd