Heartbreak as Rugby mum discovers council removed baby’s grave stones on birthday

Zena Eite and her son at Whinfield Cemetery in Rugby
Zena Eite and her son at Whinfield Cemetery in Rugby

A grieving mum was devastated to find the council had removed purple stones from her daughter’s grave on what would have been her second birthday.

Only a few weeks ago, several mums were told to take pink stones off their babies’ graves - which caused a public outcry and a petition.

It means so much to me to able to go and see her grave - it’s all I have left to remember her

Zena Eite, from Brownsover, visited the Clover Leaf Memorial Garden in Whinfield Cemetery to remember her baby Annabella Adams who died in August 2013 after being born prematurely on May 22.

But when she arrived at the cemetery last Friday she was shocked to find her daughter’s grave had been stripped of its colourful stones.

“It was absolutely heartbreaking - I was so shocked that they were gone,” Zena said.

“I was devastated and my friend had to calm me down at the cemetery and then my mum came to meet me and I just cried in her arms. I couldn’t believe someone would do that on her birthday.

“It means so much to me to able to go and see her grave - it’s all I have left to remember her.”

Zena’s teddy bear, windmill and angel statues were still on Annabella’s grave.

The 22-year-old phoned Rugby Borough Council’s bereavement service the same day and was told that the council had not removed the stones.

But Zena received a call from the bereavement service on Tuesday and was informed that the council had in fact taken away the purple stones.

“They said they took them off because they had sent me a letter in March telling me to do it but I didn’t receive it,” Zena said.

“I asked what address they sent the letter to and it turns out they sent it to my ex-partner’s address, so I had no idea that I needed to take the stones off.

“If I had been asked to do it then I would of because it would have been in my own time, but to just take them off when it was her birthday is awful.”

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A Rugby Borough Council spokesman said: “Our bereavement services team wrote to the parents at the beginning of March to request the removal of the stones.

“We removed the majority of the stones at the end of March, in line with the policy which was introduced when the new section of the Clover Leaf Memorial Garden opened in 2011.

“We encourage families to personalise graves at the memorial garden. However, we have received a number of complaints from families about coloured gravel and stones which have migrated on to nearby graves and have a duty to maintain the memorial garden to a standard expected by all visitors.”“

Several mothers have spoken to the Advertiser after being told to remove the coloured stones from their babies’ graves.

Tiffany Moore, who visits her daughter’s grave at Whinfield Cemetery, started a petition to allow families to add colourful stones to graves and has so far received more than 1,800 signatures.

Tiffany said: “I feel deeply shocked and saddened at the way in which Rugby Borough Council has and still is continuing to treat grieving mothers.

“It’s heartbreaking to visit a grave to see your baby, but to visit and see someone has been removing things from their grave on what would have been their birthday must be devastating. I don’t know how the council deem this behaviour as acceptable, but I think it’s disgusting and whoever is behind the making of these rules should be ashamed of themselves.”