JODIE Holmes was horrified when the rose bush she planted in memory of her father was destroyed by council contractors – and then replanted on the wrong grave.
Portsmouth City Council has apologised after two mistakes by ISS, the firm employed to maintain the city’s cemeteries, nearly forced the 23-year-old to dig up and move the bush herself.
The problems started when a gardener working for the contractor accidentally damaged the bush, planted on Thomas Holmes’s grave in Kingston Cemetery, Milton, while cutting the grass.
To make matters worse, after Miss Holmes had tried for a week to have another rose bush planted, the replacement was accidentally placed on a different grave.
Miss Holmes, of Epworth Road, in Copnor, said it was frustrating trying to get the council to correct the mistake.
She said: ‘All this mess could have been avoided if someone had just taken a bit more care in the first place.
‘How hard is it really to just put the bush back in the same place?
‘Or better yet, keep an eye out when you’re cutting the grass.?
‘The whole thing was very traumatic, because until I made a fuss they didn’t want to do anything about it.’
Miss Holmes’ dad died in 2004 after a battle with cancer, and his daughter left school aged just 14 to look after him.
‘We were very close,’ she said.
‘When I turned up at the cemetery to find the rose bush gone I broke into tears.
‘It has been there for seven years and meant a lot to me. When it vanished like that I was shocked.’
Council cemeteries manager Gerry O’Brien said: ‘We would like to apologise to Jodie on behalf of our contractor ISS for any distress that this incident has caused her.
‘Unfortunately, a rose bush on her father’s grave was accidentally damaged when the contractors were strimming the grass. I immediately ordered a replacement but the contractors planted it on the neighbouring grave in error.
‘Another rose bush was ordered and has been planted in the correct place.’
A spokeswoman added that the council would remove any tree or shrub that obstructs other headstones or paths.