Devastated grandson feels “let down” after special memorial trees cut down

Residents are angry that the council want to remove memorial trees at Clowne Cemetery, Ross Walker is pictured centre with the tree dedicated to his Grandfather with his Mother Mary Walker and Uncle Keith Taylor

Residents are angry that the council want to remove memorial trees at Clowne Cemetery, Ross Walker is pictured centre with the tree dedicated to his Grandfather with his Mother Mary Walker and Uncle Keith Taylor

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A devastated grandson says he feels “let down” after a tree planted in memory of his grandfather has been chopped down.

Upset Ross Walker, aged 44, of Gray Street, Clowne, campaigned to save the maple tree, at Clowne Cemetery, which was a mark of respect to his grandfather George Taylor, who fought in the Second World War.

But the Clowne and Barlborough Burial Committee said they had to remove Mr Walker’s tree, along with nine others, as they caused a health and safety risk to a nearby property.

“I feel let down and I am absolutely disgusted,” Mr Walker said.

“I cannot describe how this has left me and all my family feeling.”

The final decision to chop down the trees came after a meeting of the Clowne and Barlborough Burial Committee on Monday, January 18. They were then cut down 48 hours later.

This was despite an online petition set-up by Mr Walker, who used to visit the tree on special occasions, which received more than 550 signatures.

At a Clowne Parish Council meeting on Monday, the committee said they were left with three options following a report by a tree surgeon - one which included cutting alternate trees, which they said would have would have “singled out” particular families.

The council have since decided to provide a replacement tree, a memorial stone and a gardened area with seating.

Mr Walker added: “I am going to take this all the way.”

The trees are believed to have been in place on the avenue near the cemetery for more than 25 years.

The idea behind the trees was that anyone who has a relative buried at the cemetery could also choose to have a memorial tree in their name.

The trees on the opposite side of the avenue, which are further away from the property, have not been felled.

A statement read out on behalf of the Clowne and Barlborough Burial Committee at the meeting on Monday, said: “Many of you may be aware that the above committee took the difficult decision, after a sensitive consultation process to remove 10 memorial trees within the cemetery grounds.

“Nine out of the 10 owners accepted the committee’s decisions and proposals

“The cost of all of this will be borne by the burial committee.”