I just want to visit my sons’ graves

Linda Shaw, who has trouble accessing her son's graves at City Rd Cemetery seen at Dean's grave
Linda Shaw, who has trouble accessing her son's graves at City Rd Cemetery seen at Dean's grave
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TRAGEDY-hit mum Linda Shaw has suffered the heartbreak of losing three sons in 12 years.

Linda had to bury her third son Dean last week after the 39-year-old collapsed and died suddenly. The cause of the father-of-three’s death is not yet known.

But Linda, aged 60, who is paralysed down one side after a devastating stroke when she was just 47, says she can’t tend her sons’ graves because her wheelchair gets stuck in mud at City Road Cemetery.

Four years ago her son Donald died of a massive heart attack aged just 37, after moving to Spain to work as a chef.

And in 2000 she buried 20-year-old son Lee, who was found hanged at his home on the Manor estate.

“Nobody can believe it,” said Linda, of Manor Park Drive, Manor Park, Sheffield. “I don’t know how I have found the strength to carry on. It has been hell.

“Nobody expects to bury their children, and I have had to do it for three in such a short space of time.”

She says Dean’s funer al was ‘humiliating’ after her electric chair got grounded in the mud, with its wheels spinning.

And she says she has relied on the kindness of strangers in the past after toppling from her chair on a rocky path leading to the graveyard gate closest to her home.

“I try to get to their graves every day if I can manage it, to be close to them,” she said. “I just want to be able to visit the graves and not have to worry about getting stuck or toppling over.”

All three of Linda’s sons died in the month of January, leaving she and husband Ken, 57, with three anniversaries to mourn every year in the space of just six days.

Two of Linda’s sons are buried together in one plot, with her third in another.

Sheffield Council has installed a dirt path which lets Linda to get close to her sons’ graves.

But Linda, who has one surviving son and two daughters, said she has pleaded with the council to tar the path, which she says becomes a mud bath every time it rains.

Ken added: “The council is out every day filling in pot-holes and I am sure there must be some tar left at the end of each day. I would do it myself if they would give the leftovers to me.”

Paul Billington, Sheffield Council’s director of environment, said the council had worked closely with Mrs Shaw to help her.

“We have already installed a good condition path, at her request, to assist her access. We also made sure the grave for the recent burial of Mrs Shaw’s son was deliberately allocated at the side of the path created for her.

“When the grave was prepared awe removed all the soil and placed boards on the grass so there would be no problem if Mrs Shaw wanted to go to the other side when the burial took place.

“Sadly significant extensions to paths to access all graves for Mrs Shaw would be impractical since it cannot be done without running across the graves of other families.”

He added the council has repeatedly offered to help Mrs Shaw on her visits to the cemetery, especially in wet weather.