Disabled man blocked from mum's grave on Mother's Day at Sutton Cemetery
A 30-year-old policy of not allowing cars to drive into a cemetery meant a disabled husband could not visit his mother's grave on Mother's Day.
Christine Brown took her disabled husband, Bob, to Sutton Cemetery, in Alcorn Close, so he could mark the first Mother’s Day since his mum died.
But they discovered the gates were shut to cars and Mr Brown, who uses two walking sticks and has severe asthma, was unable to make the walk to the other side of the cemetery to lay flowers.
Mrs Brown said: "There was a sign up on the office which said no cars on Sundays and bank holidays.
"But my husband’s mother is buried at the far side of the cemetery and there isn’t any parking outside either.
"To get there and find the gates shut actually broke my husband’s heart.
"They said when you purchase the grave you are told. But I said the lady who purchased the grave is in it.
"They said that because it is an old cemetery too many people were going there and they don’t want them there on the busiest days.
"But the problem is if you are disabled and can’t get round there you are being discriminated against."
Councillor Jill Whitehead, chair of Sutton Council's environment and neighbourhood committee, said: "Sutton Cemetery is open to the public every day of the year.
"However, while the vehicle gates and pedestrian gate are open to the public Mondays to Saturdays, only the pedestrian gate - which is wide enough for wheelchair access - is open on Sundays and bank holidays.
"This policy has been in place for at least 30 years. The reason being that Sundays and bank holidays are generally the busiest and so visitors are able to walk in safety.
"In addition, there can be problems with cars parking in front of other families’ graves which can cause upset for those families if they are visiting at the same time."