March stonemason says he is desperately trying to complete headstones amid financial difficulties

Gary Manning spent hours repairing the broken structures in the grounds of the Leverington Road ceme

Gary Manning spent hours repairing the broken structures in the grounds of the Leverington Road cemetery after a £2,000 cheque was donated to help pay for the work. - Credit: Archant

A monumental stone mason business with a shop in March and workshop in Wisbech has apologised to customers saying financial difficulties means he has been unable to complete headstone orders.

Kent Memorials shop in March

Kent Memorials shop in March - Credit: Archant

Gary Manning, of Kent Memorials has pledged that every effort is being made to honour customer orders in what is a “difficult time for them and their families.”

One customer told how she paid a £1,000 deposit in September towards a £3,505 headstone that was supposed to be ready before Christmas.

She said two weeks ago alarm bells rang after being promised the work, hearing nothing, calling again and being told a workman had walked out, then discovering the shop was not open.

Ann Russo, of Peterborough, said: “I’m angry but also heartbroken. It is a lot of money to find again.

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“First I was told it would be ready for Christmas, then just after Christmas, it felt like being fobbed off.

“I went to Wisbech and the unit was closed but the unfinished work all still in there.

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“I work as a carer and had only gone back to work again on December 14 as I’d looked after my mum for two years in the run up to her dying. “I’m now working like a donkey to try to get that deposit money back.”

In a post on a Facebook page, Gary Manning said: “I would like to address all customers of Kent WK Memorials and to publicly apologise to those who have recently experienced unsatisfactory service, during what is already a difficult them and their families.

“Unfortunately the company has been facing some financial strain after a heavy tax bill was enforced, and had to be settled using both the floating assets of the company and personal savings.

“This has the company struggling to turn over a profit in the last few months. Every effort is being taken to ensure customer orders can still be completed asap.

“It has been with great regret that the company has been struck down in this way, and full admission of these taxes could have been accounted for better, however the sheer degree of miscalculation was not picked up on by the Inland Revenue until such point it had become a vast amount detrimental to the usual flow rate of the business.

“All of my customers will be contacted in the coming days to discuss their orders in more detail and to give progress updates on their respective orders.

“Please all accept my sincere apologies for the lack of contact, I’ve desperately been trying to sort all this out behind closed doors.”

• Have you been affected? Contact newsdesk or 011354-661919.

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