Angry locals have launched a petition to stop the council from toppling headstones in cemeteries. 

Renfrewshire Council officials have been toppling headstones and laying them flat in cemeteries, including Hawkhead Cemetery in Paisley, to ensure their safety.

Figures from the local authority show that around 1500 have been toppled and laid flat.

Glasgow Times:

However, Friends of Hawkhead Cemetery claim that there are other methods of dealing with the gravestones and they are starting the petition in protest.

The campaigners also say other local authorities in Scotland use different methods to ensure the safety of headstones in cemeteries.

READ MORE: Man threatens legal action after council wrongly suggests he was 'emailing too much'

It is hoped that the public pressure will force council officials and councillors to change their minds.

Glasgow Times: Des Barr

Chairman of Friends of Hawkhead Cemetery, Des Barr, said: “The decision by officials to lay flat the headstones has been met with widespread anger and disappointment among relatives and friends who visit their dearly departed. This act shows no respect for how these memorials are dealt with.

“There are alternative ways that other local authorities deploy to deal with this issue, but so far Renfrewshire Council officials have ignored our pleas to consider these.

“We were hoping councillors would instruct officials to have another look at their methods of mass toppling of headstones. After all, councillors are elected to run the council and not the officials."

Glasgow Times:

We previously reported that Mr Barr set up the group after sharing his horror at the neglect of Hawkhead Cemetery.

READ MORE: 'They may be gone, but they're not forgotten': Son hits out at 'disgraceful state' of cemetery

As well as the issue of toppling stones, he urged the local authority to take action on repairing the potholes on roads, repairing and cleaning crumbling pathways covered in moss, clearing piles of dead leaves, and more regular grass-cutting. 

Glasgow Times:

Mr Barr added: “My parents, along with countless other loved ones, rest in peace within the sacred grounds of cemeteries in Renfrewshire.

“Many feel that the council’s action in toppling headstones disregards our cultural norms and traditions surrounding death and remembrance. The Friends of Hawkhead Cemetery group have proposed several alternatives to this approach, but so far, these suggestions have fallen on deaf ears.

“Cemeteries are not just a place to bury our dead, they are also places for us to remember and honour them. In fact, visiting gravesites can play an essential role in the grieving process by providing a physical space for remembering our loved ones.

“By laying flat headstones in Renfrewshire Cemeteries, we risk losing an integral part of our mourning process whilst also disrespecting those who rest there.

“We call upon Renfrewshire Council to reconsider their decision on laying flat headstones in all their cemeteries. We also urge the council to engage more openly with Friends of Hawkhead Cemetery about alternative solutions that show more respect for our deceased loved one’s memory.

“Please sign this petition if you believe in preserving dignity and respect within our final resting places.”

To sign the petition, please click here