A mother is devastated after the city council removed her deceased son’s headstone and grave site decorations left by family and friends following a single complaint from another family who said it wasn’t “in keeping” with their family member’s plot. Obviously, the mother is distraught and beside herself following the decision.
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Max Corbett-Gardener was only 4 years old when he died from complications related to severe epilepsy. His mother, Jo Corbett-Weeks, scraped and saved for nearly three years to get an almost $5,000 specially-made headstone of a teddy bear holding a star inscribed with a heart touching tribute to her son.
On what would have been Max’s seventh birthday, back in 2015, Jo had the headstone installed as a special present to him.
But just three days later, Jo returned to find the headstone removed from Max’s grave.
She told local reporters: “It would have been Max’s seventh birthday on the Sunday, and this was like a birthday present to him from me.
“I chose a star-shaped stone because I wanted something suitable for Max – something personal. This stone is just so perfect for my poor little chap.
“I was totally unaware this was going on. The council did not contact me and it was the stonemason who told me he’d been ordered to remove it.
“I feel upset, distressed and angry. We have been through so much as a family. I could understand if the grave was uncared for or unsightly, but it isn’t.
“The headstone meant a lot to me and the family but now we are fighting to have it put back. It’s a horrible situation. We just want to have somewhere to grieve.”
It turns out the council acted after a single member of another family with relatives buried in the cemetery.
“We have a conformity of shapes in our lawn cemetery. We were contacted by people who objected to the shape,” a Malvern Town Council spokesman explained to BBC. “The longer it stayed up, the harder the process would have been.
“It was a very difficult decision to remove it but one we had to make straight away,” the spokesman said.
The council is arranging a meeting with Corbett-Weeks to discuss a new design for her son’s headstone.
A petition on the website Change.org currently has over 54,000 signatures supporting the reinstatement of the headstone. Most of the comments made on the petition are overwhelmingly in support of Corbett-Weeks.
One comment read, “It’s a child’s headstone. Anyone who would complain about this needs to take a serious look at themselves the council should be ashamed of themselves.”
Another, “It greatly offends me that such a petty and unreasonable complaint has the ability to cause more pain and heartache to the family of a lost child. It is an appropriate and touching memorial for a young boy who was obviously much loved and greatly missed. What is wrong with people these days that someone could be so selfish and heartless to make this ridiculous demand. Put the headstone back and leave this family to their grief.”
Despite the fact that this started two years ago, signatures are still regularly added to the petition.
Here is a video report about the series of events: