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Family finds lack of upkeep at Cambridge cemetery 'disgraceful'

'You don’t treat the dead like that,' says Sue Murphy, whose great-grandfather is buried at St. Patrick cemetery in Galt

Sue Murphy and her family continuously clear off their great-grandfather's headstone at St. Patrick cemetery in Galt; a task their father used to do.

Overgrown greenery is covering up most of the headstones lined up by Robert Murphy's resting place. Maintenance for the cemetery is provided by the Diocese of Hamilton, which oversees Catholic cemeteries from Owen Sound to St. Catharines.

“It’s disgraceful, it’s not just our headstone it’s all the headstones in a row are just covered in bushes and the grass needs to be mowed,” Murphy says.

“You don’t treat the dead like that.”

Murphy says the cemetery has looked like that for a while now, but remembers when she was younger it being well kept and cleared.

“It’s very surprising.”

After making numerous calls to the Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of Hamilton and leaving an un-returned voicemail, Murphy posted on Facebook earlier this month to see if anyone else felt the same way as her.

To her surprise she received numerous responses from people who said the same thing; that the cemetery looked almost abandoned. 

A neighbour nearby commented on the post that the property consistently looked unmaintained. 

Murphy was disappointed when she didn't receive a response from the Catholic cemeteries, that took over maintenance of the facility in 2012. 

St. Patrick Cemetery opened in 1964, and is situated near the corner of Hespeler Road and Avenue Road in Galt. 

Declining an interview with CambridgeToday, the director of the Catholic cemeteries of the Diocese of Hamilton provided a statement through email instead.

“The Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of Hamilton are committed to providing environmentally responsible landscaping services for lawn maintenance and care," Art Smith said.

"During the spring and summer months, we hire extra staff and work with third party providers to provide adequate care to our cemeteries. Anyone with concerns is welcome to contact us on our website.

"We thank everyone on neighbouring properties for their feedback and patience as we get to their location.”

Anyone with a complaint about the St. Patrick cemetery's upkeep can report it through the catholic cemetery's website. 

Murphy says she and her family will keep clearing off their great-grandfather's headstone in the meantime. 

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Justine Fraser

About the Author: Justine Fraser

Justine joined CambridgeToday in March of 2022 as a social issues reporter. She enjoys living in the city (and walking her giant white dog!). A camera is never far from her hand.
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