'Majority' of headstones laid down by mistake at Sleights churchyard, Whitby, will be restored

'The majority' of the gravestones that had been laid down are to be restored.
'The majority' of the gravestones that had been laid down are to be restored.

Church authorities at Sleights churchyard said they will restore 'the majority' of gravestones that had been laid down by mistake.

Relatives of those buried in the cemetery of St John’s Church were left 'upset' and 'distraught' when they found out 75 headstones had been toppled.

Read more: Outrage at laying down of headstones at Sleights churchyard

However, a few days later Vicar of Lower Esk the Revd Veronica Carolan apologised for the mistakes made in checking the stones and said that she was deeply sorry for the distress that had been caused.

Read more: Vicar apologises for the laying down of gravestones at Sleights churchyard

A week on from the incident, the Parochial Church Council (PCC) took the decision to restore the majority of them.

During a meeting held on Friday, 8 March Assistant Archdeacon of Cleveland the Revd Canon Peter Bristow outlined the legal requirements and process for the restoration and ongoing maintenance of the Churchyard.

As part of the necessary legal permissions, the PCC will be seeking technical advice before appointing a contractor to undertake the work.

Canon Peter Bristow said: “I’m very sad this has occurred because it was only in November 2018 that I commended the Vicar and Parish for all the excellent work they had done in clearing and tidying the older part of the churchyard.

“This has been a difficult episode for the families and friends of those whose stones were laid down, but the pIan to put things right is now coming together.

“I hope it will be an opportunity for them and for the wider community in Sleights to become more involved in the care of the churchyard which is entirely in the hands of volunteers.”