A WIDOW says she has been unable to lay flowers on her husband's grave for almost two years because of the unkempt state of the graveyard.
Distraught Edith Schofield, of Netherton, had to stop her visits to her husband Herman's grave because of a vandalised hand rail.
When she visited again in June she was shocked to discover the grave totally covered by brambles.
She says that despite letters and phone calls to the vicar nothing has been done.
"It grieves and upsets me that I won't be able to even put a Christmas wreath on his grave this year," said Mrs Schofield, who is in her 70s.
"Herman and I used to visit the graveyard to tend his young son's grave, where he is buried now.
"We used to look after several other graves as well, but it has deteriorated steadily over the years."
Mrs Schofield, of Crescent Road, said an article in the parish magazine had prompted her to visit Herman's grave in June.
It said the vandalised handrail had been replaced so people could gain easy access to their loved ones' graves.
"I've never seen the grave disappear before. I got such a shock when I went there," said Mrs Schofield.
Mr Schofield died in 1984 aged 73. The couple had been married for 37 years.
His three year-old son Peter, by his first wife, died during the 1960s and Mr Schofield is buried in the same grave.
A spokesman for the diocese of Wakefield, the Rev Anthony Howe, said any situation where a grave became overgrown was very sad.
He added: "It is always a shock for relatives if they see a grave has become overgrown. But it is such a massive job for churches to keep up to the work, especially if the churchyard is big.
"There is also a feeling that people don't want their loved one's grave kept by other people. Often it is a Catch 22 as to whether they should be left or maintained," said Mr Howe.
"It is difficult for churches to do all the work all the time."