Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Did health and safety ruin a grandmother's funeral?

The latest example of 'health and safety gone mad' emerged yesterday: those 'killjoys' had ruined a grandmother's funeral, having 'scuppered' her dying wish.

The Mail said:

The article stated:

Over her lifetime she had collected a series of garden gnomes from all over the country.

So when it came to her funeral, Veronica Pratt had one special request – she wanted the colourful little characters to line the route.

The family of the 82-year-old grandmother duly obliged, placing 30 of them on a roundabout past which the cortege would drive.

But almost inevitably, the touching tribute fell foul to that scourge of modern life – the elf ’n’ safety police.

The same claims were made in the Metro:

And in the Mirror:

All these articles make it clear the gnomes were meant to line the funeral route, but were removed by 'health and safety'.

But it's not quite true. Yes, the family did place the gnomes on a roundabout near Narberth, and yes, they were removed - a few days later - by the council (under instruction from the Trunk Roads Agency). But according to the local paper, the Western Telegraph, the family acted:

the day after her funeral.

So they were never meant to be lining the route her 'cortege would drive'.

The Western Telegraph article, incidentally, is dated 22 April so it has taken these papers two weeks to publish this story - and yet they still get it wrong.

The BBC reports that a spokesman for Pembrokeshire Council has called the tabloids' interpretation a 'tall story':

Reports in several national newspapers claim the gnomes were placed on the Penblewin roundabout on the A40 before Mrs Pratt's funeral and then taken away by "elf 'n' safety police".

But the council said the story had been misreported.

It said initially their appearance was a mystery until Mrs Pratt's family contacted the Western Telegraph newspaper to say they had placed them there as a tribute the day after her funeral.

Her family told the paper that Mrs Pratt had always commented on how she enjoyed passing the roundabout - especially in spring when the flowers were in bloom - so they decided to place her gnomes there.

A council spokesman said it removed them a few days later after a request from the Welsh Assembly Government's Trunk Roads Agency on the grounds that they could distract motorists.

They were then taken to a council depot for storage.

And following an appeal for a new home they have now been given to a woman in Pembroke Dock for her garden.

1 comment:

  1. But just think of the outrage should, for example, two of the gnomes have been modelled as gay men having sex.


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