Distress for family as cattle trample Colleen’s grave

ABOVE: Bob and Colleen Jeffrey from Woodenbong. Photo: Contributed

Susanna Freymark

After Bob Jeffrey’s wife Colleen died of brain cancer in September, she was buried in Woodenbong Cemetery.

Because Colleen was such a keen gardener, daughter Lyn Cowley-Lahey helped her 82 year old father plant 3000 flower seeds on the grave.

“We watched the flowers bloom. Mum would’ve loved it so much. Dad tells me every day how the flowers are doing,” she said.

Dad waters, weeds, trims and whippersnips the area, Lyn said.

When her father phoned to say cows were trampling on Colleen’s grave, Lyn was distraught.

She lives in Brisbane and hasn’t been able to get to Woodenbong as often as she’d like because of covid border restrictions.

Tending the flowers on Colleen’s grave kept Bob going. He spent years caring for his wife before she died and often joked that he met her in the maternity ward when they were both babies in the same hospital.

Lyn was deeply upset when she heard her father was running around in the heat trying to get the cows off the flowers.

“It was a final insult to Mum. I grew up in Woodenbong. It broke my heart,” Lyn said.

She asked a friend to contact Kyogle Council.

“The council need to maintain the fences and the grid,” Lyn said.

Cows walking across our mother’s grave is appalling.

Council general manager Graham Kennett said the cemetery was fenced to a cattle-proof standard.

“However, there is a cattle grid on the road into the cemetery and there have been some issues with this grid and the need for repairs has been identified,” Mr Kennett said.

“Council expect the repairs to be completed in January and until the grid is repaired, council is working with the owner of the cattle to keep them out of the cemetery.”

Mayor Danielle Mulholland sympathised with the family.

“It would rile me up if cows were walking all over my loved ones’ graves.  It’s disrespectful,” she said.

Colleen and Bob’s grandchildren had planned to come and see their grandmother’s grave when they could, because they were unable to attend the funeral because of covid restrictions.

Lyn wants the cattle issue resolved so Bob can ease his grief and watch his wife’s flowers bloom.

Colleen Jeffrey’s grave at Woodenbong Cemetery is covered with flowers. Photo: Contributed

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