South Ayrshire Council is inspecting gravestones and headstone memorials within Girvan and Maybole cemeteries from this month as part of an ongoing programme of work to ensure all cemeteries provide a safe, dignified and peaceful environment.
The inspections are designed to identify any unsafe gravestones or headstone memorials, which could have the potential to cause injury, so they can then be made safe.
Assessments are carried out carefully by a dedicated and qualified safety team with many years' experience who work in line with industry standards – this involves a visual assessment as well as two physical tests, one of which involves a small mechanical device.
The team will make safe – on a temporary basis – any headstones assessed as 'unstable' and contact the lair owner, who will then need to arrange a permanent repair.
Councillor John McDowall, Portfolio Holder for Sustainability and the Environment, said: "The Council is responsible for 47 cemeteries and churchyards across South Ayrshire and it's vital that each and every one of these provides a suitable environment for people to pay their respects to family and friends who are no longer here. That's exactly what these inspections are designed to achieve and the work will be carried out in a sensitive and respectful way.
"While gravestones and headstone memorials are the responsibility of the lair or grave owners, we will take action to make any potentially dangerous headstones safe until the owner can arrange the necessary permanent repair.
"The tragedy in a Glasgow cemetery earlier this year – where a young boy lost his life after a gravestone fell on him shows just how important this programme of work, which has been underway for a number of years, is.
"The support and co-operation of people visiting our cemeteries and churchyards while we carry out this important work in Girvan and Maybole is very much appreciated."
For further information, or to enquire about the headstone safety programme, contact Bereavement Services on 01292 382372 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.