It is good to see that Aberdeen City Council is about to build on the pilot scheme undertaken by the City of Edinburgh Council which, some two years ago, provided the opportunity for those sentenced to Community Service Orders (now developed for those sentenced to Community Payback Orders) to rebuild gravestones.
The research I undertook in 2008 indicated every Scottish council had taken action to make safe unsafe headstones but it was only Edinburgh that was able to quantify the scale of the problem – here some 9,483 headstones had been laid flat.
At Liberton Cemetery, over the past two years, some 200 headstones have now been rebuilt but the irony is, when visiting this section of the graveyard, that this is what we expect to see in graveyards – headstones upright. It is only when you view the rest of the cemetery that you really appreciate what has been achieved and last year the justice minister, Mr Kenny MacAskill, visited the graveyard to endorse the work that has been undertaken.
Speaking as a lay person, I think this is an excellent way for those who have committed some demeanour against society to repay the community.