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Family told to remove maths tribute on grave

Farndon family’s upset over grave stone dispute

Ian Cooper Angela Robinson and her son Paul with the letter asking them to remove the headstone inscriptions
Angela Robinson and her son Paul with the letter asking them to remove the headstone inscriptions

A grieving family is upset after being ordered to remove personalised inscriptions from their loved one’s headstone comprising a Sudoku puzzle and mathematical equation.

Widow Angela Robinson of Barton Road, Farndon, is prepared to fight Farndon Parish Council all the way over its request that engravings be erased from the gravestone of her late husband Allan, who died in May last year aged 66.

She was particularly upset because the letter wrongly referred to her husband as ‘Mr Allen’ and said the decision was to ensure the standards of the burial ground at St Chad’s Church were “kept high for the benefit of all”.

Grandmother Mrs Robinson, 67, said the inscriptions were appropriate to her late husband, a retired mathematician, who had worked at Shell’s Thornton research centre.

She said: “It’s completely unnecessary. We are talking about a two inch square Sudoku puzzle and a one line mathematical equation because my husband was a mathematician and did a lot of Sudoku puzzles. He was a bit of a fanatic but this is personal to him.

“How can they possibly say what we have put on there is lowering standards?”

Mrs Robinson, who used to work for the DIAL House disability charity in Chester, has since discovered the stone mason failed to submit a copy of the proposed headstone inscriptions to the council and any remedial costs will be covered by the craftswoman.

Had the issue been brought up prior to the work being carried out, Mrs Robinson says she would have let it go, but not now.

“They are scared this is giving free reign to all kinds of inappropriate things but this is not inappropriate. You should be able to remember somebody by having a memorial which is unique and special to them.”

Mrs Robinson’s grown-up children Claire and Paul are equally upset.

Paul, from Tarvin, who runs a plant nursery, said: “In what way is this remotely offensive, of concern or even matters in any way? Jobsworth springs to mind! It is a very personal memorial that surely would not cause any harm, regardless of petty rules. He was an avid Sudoku fan and the equation merely a tiny extract from his PhD thesis in mathematics. It is a very fitting tribute to a very intelligent and law-abiding person.

“In reality, I'm sure parish councillors have far more important issues to deal with and local villagers much better things to do.”

Parish clerk Suzi Pollard, in a letter to Mrs Robinson, said the council had considered the matter and concluded the engravings were ‘contrary to the guidelines for headstone inscriptions’ provided to all stone masons who were obliged to submit a draft copy of the proposals before installation.

The clerk had spoken to the stone mason who ‘could offer no explanation’ as to why this was not followed.

She added: “The councillors understand that this is a sensitive and upsetting issue, however, they must ensure that the standards of the burial ground are kept high for the benefit of all; please make immediate arrangements with the stone mason to comply with the guidelines.”

 

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