Grave hit by rabbit invasion

PUBLISHED: 12:18 28 August 2008 | UPDATED: 16:29 05 May 2010

Rabbits have devastated a grave at Wilbury Hills Cemetery

Rabbits have devastated a grave at Wilbury Hills Cemetery

A BEREAVED family has suffered further heartbreak after floral tributes costing almost £1,000, left on a relative s grave, were eaten by rabbits within 24 hours of the funeral. John Cottam died earlier this month, aged 67, and was buried at Wilbury Hills

A BEREAVED family has suffered further heartbreak after floral tributes costing almost £1,000, left on a relative's grave, were eaten by rabbits within 24 hours of the funeral.

John Cottam died earlier this month, aged 67, and was buried at Wilbury Hills Cemetery on Stotfold Road in Letchworth GC.

His daughter, Sharon Campbell, said: "It was a very large funeral with lots of flowers and floral tributes which cost the family nearly £1,000.

"On the day we never got a chance to read the cards so at 7.30am the next day my mum, Rita, and I went to the cemetery only to find the flowers had been eaten by rabbits.

"We couldn't believe it. Not even 24 hours after the burial and they were destroyed."

Mr Cottam's wife, Rita, of Bursland in Letchworth GC, said: "It's very upsetting but what can we do? The flowers have been demolished. You don't need that sort of thing when you are so low. It's horrendous."

Sharon had had a three-foot-long Celtic cross made out of flowers, and her brother had had a 'dad' wreath made. But Sharon said: "When we got up there, they were destroyed. My mum and I were devastated.

"I think it's bad enough to lose someone you love, but to have floral tributes destroyed in such a manner is also heartbreaking.

"You can see all the rabbits around in the hedges. North Herts District Council should be doing something to deter them. There are absolutely loads of rabbits. It's overrun.

"All the white chrysanthemums are what they are going for, and they didn't touch the roses.

"I didn't see many flowers on other graves but I want to tell people not to leave flowers or, if they do, not to be shocked if something happens to them.

"I thought by making the people of Letchworth aware of this, others will not be put through the distress we have had to go through."

Cllr Lynda Needham, North Herts District Council's portfolio holder responsible for the environment, said: "The council is aware of the problem and I understand how distressing it must be for floral displays on loved ones' graves to be spoiled in this way.

"We are taking pest control measures in co-ordination with neighbouring landowners.

"We don't expect to eliminate the rabbits completely but we will try to achieve the right balance.

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