Ex-gravedigger standing for town council

Ex-grave digger for Northumberland County Council, Chris Gregory.

Ex-grave digger for Northumberland County Council, Chris Gregory.

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Chris Gregory, one of the ex-gravediggers wrongly accused of unlawful activities in local cemeteries, is standing for Berwick Town Council.

Together with Malcolm Purvis, Mr Gregory was sacked by Northumberland County Council in 2011 for alleged irregularities at Berwick and Tweedmouth Cemtery.

It was initially thought there could be 30 cases of burials in the wrong grave, the wrong memorial being on a grave, deeds having been issued incorrectly or an unregistered burial having taken place.

A subsequent investigation confirmed this was not the case and cleared Mr Gregory and Mr Purvis of any wrong-doing, although there were serious issues with record keeping.

Far from putting him off, however, the experience has inspired Mr Gregory to get involved in local politics and he will contest the election for Magdalene ward.

“I am an honest, straightforward sort of bloke and, from what I have experienced and observed, local politics could benefit from a more honest and straightforward approach,” he said.

He was also appalled by the snub delivered to Georgina Hill, last year’s deputy mayor, when in a move away from tradition they chose Isabel Hunter to serve for a second successive year.

Standing as an Independent, he says he is not politically motivated but will be supporting Councillor Hill’s campaign for a more open and transparent council.

The vacancy for Magdalene ward was created by the resignation of Phil Elliott.

Mr Gregory, now a gardener and handyman, said: “I spend a lot of time speaking to the residents of the Three Fields during the course of my work and want to be help ensure things get done for the area.”

The election is on Thursday, September 25.

Three other candidates are standing: Gordon McLean (Independent), Joy Routledge (Lib Dem) and Gary Smith (Independent).

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