Over the last thirteen years Oxford City Council has been testing memorials to make sure they are safe and not likely to fall over. This year the inspections, carried out by Oxford Direct Services,
Laura Harlock, Oxford Direct Services' Cemeteries Manager, said: "Memorials are sites of great personal importance to families and loved ones and we are conscious we need to do this work sensitively to respect that. If we find an unstable memorial we will do our utmost to contact the family concerned before it is repositioned.
"Whilst modern memorials are all installed to high safety standards, this has not always been the case. Older ones may have been poorly erected with little consideration for safety, or they may suffer from years of neglect. These may risk falling over and causing serious injury. Any work that we do to ensure memorials are safe and won't cause an accident will be carried out with due respect."
Before starting the memorial inspections, Cemeteries Services place notices around the cemetery to inform grave owners, as well as members of the public, of the inspections.
Any memorial found to be unstable will be supported with a wooden stake. In some circumstances, memorials that are in imminent risk of falling over will be carefully laid down.
Previous inspections show that only a small percentage of the memorials are found to be unstable and any erected since September 2005 meet new standards that ensure they will remain secure and stable for decades.
For further information about the assessment programme, please contact the Cemeteries Service Office between 10am and 4pm, Monday to Friday on 01865 252516.