'TORFAEN council is inviting members of the public will be invited to a cemetery to see how more than 11,000 headstone memorials will be safety tested.

And bereaved families in Monmouthshire who kicked up a storm when headstones were laid down and taped off have congratulated Torfaen council for acing in a considerate manner.

Unsafe headstones in Dewstow Road cemetery, Caldicot, were laid flat without the owners' consent and then surrounded by emergency red tape to stop visitors tripping over them.

The actions, taken by Caldicot town council, left the bereaved residents feeling "destroyed" and describing the cemetery as "looking like a disaster scene".

Two weeks ago the Torfaen cabinet gave the go-ahead for work to begin to ensure more than 11,000 headstones are safe in Blaenavon, Cwmbran and Pontypool cemeteries.

Several deaths and many accidents caused by memorials toppling over in the UK during the last ten years has led to new instructions from the Health and Safety Executive.

Torfaen's senior cemeteries officer Tony Crewe told the Argus the council had found itself in a "no-win situation" and would lay down any unsafe memorials.

But the public are invited to watch and ask questions as a memorial safety company shows how headstones will be tested using sample memorials.

The demonstration will take place on Saturday, December 6 between 10.30am and 2pm at Panteg cemetery.

A council spokesman said: "The open day will be a chance for the public to see what we'll be doing come December 15 when work begins. "We know it is a sensitive issue so the council is offering all the help it can.

"We hope that by being open and making it easy as possible for people to ask questions they will understand why we have to do it."

And James Mealing, of West-field in Caldicot, who was appalled when his parents' graves were laid down in Dewstow Road cemetery, said: "Torfaen seem to have prepared for their safety tests in a more human way. I would have appreciated the opportunity to consider it and ask questions bef-ore any work was actually done."

Call Tony Crewe on 01495 766150 for information about memorials testing.