Woman vows to get her money back for a headstone that never materialised from March company Kent Memorials

A Plaque to commemorate the diamond jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Gary Manning from Ken

A Plaque to commemorate the diamond jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Gary Manning from Kent Memorials who made the plaque. Now, he has closed the shop and customers cannot get hold of him. PHOTO: Cambs Times - Credit: Archant

A woman has vowed she is not going away until she has had her money back from a memorial firm that closed without warning in March.

Kent Memorials shop in March

Kent Memorials shop in March - Credit: Archant

Ann Russo paid a deposit of £1,000 for a headstone for her mother and is among many people who have complained to the Cambs Times that they have paid large sums of money to Kent Memorials with nothing in return.

Some have had headstones removed to have names added then were left wondering where their stones had gone when the Station Road shop closed with no forwarding number or address earlier this year.

Mrs Russo said: “I trusted him as he was recommended to me, why would you query a headstone company who was reputable, or so I thought.

“It’s mind blowing that this has even happened, so many people grieving for loved ones and then this.

“I know many have just let this go, as it is such a difficult time, but I’m afraid this is hard earned money and I am not going away.

“Putting a headstone on my mum’s grave is the last thing I can do for her.”

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Mrs Russo, who gave up her work as a carer to look after her mum until she died in September 2016, said she tracked down Mr Manning to his Wisbech workshop and was given £300 back - but she is still short of £700.

“In February I had a message from him saying he was going to pay the rest of the money into my account.

“Five days later it had not cleared and he said it would be transferred.

“I then sent eight more messages and ended up getting blocked.”

“Police don’t want to know, neither do trading standards, fraud office or the courts. The court needs an address to be able to serve papers and nobody knows where he lives.”

Mr Mannning said: “I’m sorry for the silence, there are some jobs I’m still in the process of being able to complete.

“All of my new memorial work has been passed over to Chatteris Independent Funeral Services, who will complete the works.

“Then there are those who’d requested their money back, some have been paid back already some are still waiting, but anyone who had paid me money will either be getting their memorial or their money back. Even if it takes me years...

“I fully understand this isn’t ideal, but it’s the best I’ve been able to do. Anyone with any doubts should get in contact with Carl at Chatteris Independent Funeral Services.”