Of Dying Industries and Making Money

In England, owing to new regulations memorial masons are no longer permitted to replace memorials in cemeteries unless they are re-fixed to conform to the National Association of Memorial Masons (NAMM) Code of Working Practice:

Headstones are frequently removed either to have the name of the dear departed added to a memorial, or for purposes of renovation. The headstone should be re-installed with a new reinforced concrete bearer foundation, using a stainless steel ground anchor. This is to ensure the health and safety of both passers-by and of the deceased person. The new arrangements should comply with British Standard 8415. They are designed to ensure that memorials are strong enough to withstand all reasonable forces to which they might be subjected.

The British complain about regulations from the European Union, but the above far-from-unique nonsense has nothing to do with the EU - - it is designed by a very British industry that goes back to beyond recorded history and aims at extorting money from the public, in this instance from relatives who have recently lost loved ones, are often distracted and are in no state of mind to ask the obvious questions, viz:

- How often do gravestones fall over injuring passers-by?

- How important is it to the dear-departed, now presumably six feet under, that the gravestone over his or her head complies with British Standard 8415?

- In view of the fact that most British cemeteries are infrequently visited, who is likely to care about “health and safety”?

- What constitutes “reasonable forces” in an average cemetery? Hurricanes? Earthquakes? Drunk drivers? The U.S Marines?

- Has it occurred to the NAMM that the new reinforced concrete bearer foundation, using a stainless steel ground anchor, arguably offers a better foundation than the average new home built by the modern construction industry?

The group most affected by the new regulations are the born-again Christians, who are expecting resurrection from the grave and life ever after. The Revd. Simpleton of the Praise Jesus Church of the Holy Believers in Tunbridge Wells told this correspondent:

This is the thin edge of the wedge. It potentially blocks an exit which allows the Saved to arise from the grave at the last trump.

In reply, the NAMM spokesperson is quoted as saying:

This will only affect a small minority of true believers. The remainder can rise from the other end of the grave. That is, until we have devised an amendment to our Code of Working Practice, forcing relatives to cover graves with thick sheets of expensive stainless steel.