A STONEMASON in Worcester has defended the work carried out on a grave after the widower who hired them refused to pay.

Brian Sanders, 82, commissioned EB Memorials of Worcester to make and install a headstone with the names of his mum, dad and wife as well as laying turf.

Mr Sanders’ parents are buried in St John Baptist churchyard in Claines and, after his wife Elizabeth died in August last year, he wanted a new headstone including all three names.

As part of the work, the Checketts Lane firm agreed to remove the original headstone and concrete kerbs, as well as the pebbles, and turf the area up to the neighbouring graves. A contract was signed and Mr Sanders paid half of the £800 fee as a deposit on November 22, as per the agreement.

But with the new turf having been laid earlier this month, Mr Sanders is unhappy with the quality of the work and the fact that the turf doesn’t go right up to the neighbouring graves.

However, EB Memorials owner John Bullock said that turfing the area up to the foot of the neighbouring graves was not part of the agreement – and he added that the area is actually a public right of way and can only be turfed if the church agrees to it, but the church has not responded at this stage.

Mr Sanders said he was unhappy to receive an invoice on February 5 asking for the remaining £427 “before any of the work had been done”.

“I was in business for nearly 30 years, I never sent out a bill until it was all complete and the customer was satisfied,” said the former building contractor, of Fernhill Heath.

However, the contract fine print does state that the full money must be paid before the new headstone is fitted – which Mr Sanders accepts he did not realise at the time of signing due to his grief-stricken state.

Mr Bullock told the Worcester News that the terms and conditions of the contract clearly state that the full money is due before the headstone is fitted.

However, he has agreed for Mr Sanders to hold off on paying until he is satisfied with the work done.

“There was a breakdown of communication. We’re aware that it’s not to his satisfaction at this time," Mr Bullock said. "We have agreed to sort it out but that’s (the turfing) dictated by the church vicar.

“We will only take the payment once the customer is happy."