Wirral Council have been accused of ignoring the neglected state of a baby cemetery where a grieving mum found ‘dead mice and rabbits’ amongst the graves.

Parents expressed their heartbreak and disgust after pictures emerged showing childrens’ headstones buried in overgrown grass at Landican cemetery in Birkenhead last week.

Wirral council said restricted access to the graves means staff often have to maintain it by hand, resulting in upkeep taking longer than usual.

But Julie McDonald, who lives next to Landican, said she visits the baby garden regularly and raised concerns about the state of it in May.

She said: “If I had kids there I would go ballistic. I took photos, I got in touch with the council, I told them how sad I was.

“It’s been over a month now, I went back last week and absolutely nothing has been done. It’s disgraceful.

“Fortunately I don’t have a child there. But I live right by there and I every now and then I take myself down there. It’s usually so peaceful with all the chimes and the nice trinkets.

“I would say in the last six months it’s really gone down hill. It’s heartbreaking. ”

Wirral Globe:

Emails seen by the LDRS show the local authority responded to Ms Mcdonald’s complaint on May 7, and promised to investigate within 15 days.

Last week the council said they were looking into further improvement works that would “reduce the need for such intensive ground maintenance”.

A sign at the cemetery says the council will be designing a new baby memorial garden, with works set to start in May and to be completed by summer.

But pictures taken by Julie at the end of June suggest this has yet to begin, with several graves still overgrown with weeds and grass.

The 59-year-old said: “There’s no excuse. What sickens me most of all is why the rest of the cemetery is so nice but the baby garden has been left.

“I even offered to weed this plot myself but they said no.

“I remember months ago seeing a family have a picnic there. They could not do that now. The weeds are about four foot high.”

Wirral Globe:

Parents with children buried at Landican have expressed their outrage over the state of the baby garden.

Speaking to the LDRS last week, 29-year-old Kelly Louise, who lost a son at birth when she was just 20, said most parents maintain their children’s graves but expect the pathways and surrounding areas to be kept clean by the council.

The story has led to several grieving parents expressing their heartache over the state of Landican on social media.

One reader said: “My baby’s ashes are scattered in the baby garden & other children/ babies too. So sad to see it in such a mess, come on WBC pull your finger out & get it cleaned up.”

Another said: “It did look terrible last week when I went, there’s a whole grave space free next to my daughter’s and that hadn’t been touched, so I don’t understand why they are saying it’s because they can’t get to it. But I also hate the mess they leave when they do actually do it too. It’s a hard situation for anyone to figure out I think.”

And a third said: “I was visiting a family member’s grave right next to this area last week and mentioned to my husband how neglected it was compared to the rest. So overgrown and messy. I did cry as I read some head stones. So sad and so neglected by the staff if the cemetery. They need to give the utmost respect to all the cemetery. My heart goes out to all the parents.”

Wirral Globe:

Wirral Council have been contacted for comment over Ms Mcdonald’s email correspondence.

Cllr Julie McManus, cabinet member for community services, said: “I completely understand the anguish that parents feel after finding their babies’ graves have not been maintained to a high standard.

“The current Baby Memorial Garden opened in 2001 and, as of May this year, improvement works have been taking place with three new archways replacing a now-removed trellis and an angel statue being repurposed to a new focal point.

“Upcoming changes to the garden include additional refurbished seating and improved access, new planting beds, a butterfly sculpture and a mosaic feature.

“In addition to visual improvements, further options are being looked into by staff to reduce the need for intensive ground maintenance within the Baby Garden. This will enable staff to better maintain the area, while visitors continue to create special tributes on their loved ones’ graves.”

“I understand the urgency that many of the garden’s visitors will feel in seeing these improvements. Our team have set about creating a proper place of peaceful remembrance and contemplation at a respectful and thoughtful pace. This new and tasteful vision of the memorial garden is set to be completed by early Autumn 2019.”