A devastated mother was left sinking in thick mud as she visited her baby son’s grave on his birthday.
Michelle Marshall described her heart break after a suspected drainage problem at the cemetery ruined what should have been a solemn occasion.
She was tending her son’s grave at Ballyvester Cemetery in Donaghadee, County Down, Northern Ireland, on New Year’s Eve, when her legs got stuck in wet sand and mud.
As she was rescued to safety by a stranger, the distraught mother said she lost her shoes which were left ‘buried with my son’.
Ms Marshall said she has constantly complained to Ards and North Down Borough Council over the state of the cemetery.
Writing on Facebook, she said: ‘I am more angry right now than I’ve ever been.
‘It is my son’s 12th birthday today and I went to his grave in Ballyvester Cemetery with his flowers and balloons and ended up being buried in it nearly up to my knees.
‘I had to be pulled out by my sister and another man and don’t even have shoes anymore.
‘They are buried with my son!
‘According to our council this only happens when there are extreme weather conditions!’
She added: ‘You can’t imagine what it feels like to go to your baby son’s grave to be faced with this on his birthday. I am completely broken-hearted.’
Ms Marshall’s son Bailey was born prematurely in December 2005, and he died from an infection a month later.
He was buried at Ballyvester Cemetery in 2006 and Ms Marshall claims she has encountered problem after problem ever since.
She told BBC News that she considered exhuming her son’s remains because of the situation.
But after sharing photos of a mud-covered graveside, she said council staff apologised and she is now hopeful that the issue will be resolved.
In a statement, Ards and North Down Borough Council apologised to Ms Marshall for her distressing experience.
The local authority also said new drains would be installed next year to avoid further problems.