Wisbech teacher is among the families waiting for a headstone to be delivered from March stone mason

Kent Memorials shop in March

Kent Memorials shop in March - Credit: Archant

A special needs teacher says her family are among those stuck in limbo after a March stone mason agreed to take on headstone work for them but has ignored their calls for more than four months.

Karen Barber, who works at Meadowgate School in Wisbech, said Gary Manning of Kent Memorials, took her father’s headstone to add her mother’s details to it five months ago and took a £200 deposit.

He agreed to draft up drawings and send them in the post but by October when they had heard nothing, they called only to be told he had forgotten about it and to expect them soon.

Karen said: “It’s now February and we are still waiting.

“We’ve made endless phone calls and left messages and heard nothing. It’s not even about the money - he has our dad’s headstone and how are we supposed to get that back?

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“He has said on Facebook he will contact everybody and make sure their work is sorted out but we have heard nothing and as far as I know neither has anybody else.

“It’s horrendous. As a family we believe the funeral and headstone are the last thing you can do for your loved one, but here we are stuck.

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“He must have known he was struggling in the autumn so why did he take on people’s orders?”

“Police are not interested as they say it is a civil matter.”

Gary, whose shop is in Station Road and workshop in Regal Road, Wisbech, said in a Facebook post that: “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.”

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