TWO grieving daughters have told of their distress after finding dirt and clay piled on their parents’ grave.

Wendy Broad and Patsy Brinkley have been tending the memorial in Harwell every week for more than 16 years.

But last month they found the plot, at the cemetery in St Matthew’s Church, covered in soil.

Mrs Broad, 60, from Abbott Close, Didcot, said: “I was really upset. It was distressing. It looked like someone had just been buried there.”

She said it was even more devastating as they had taken so much care over the site.

She added: “It is our mum and dad and they looked after us all their lives. The only way we can repay them, now they have passed on, is by taking care of their plot.”

The sisters’ father, Larry Hawkins, died in 1995 from stomach cancer. His wife Glad died of a stroke the following year.

The couple lived in Harwell for more than 40 years.

Mrs Brinkley, 62, from Swindon, said: “When I saw it I thought someone else had been buried there – to me it looks disturbed.”

She said it was important to them that the graves were kept tidy, adding: “It is a visual respect.

“We have always looked after the graves because that is what they deserved.

“I don’t think there is anything sadder than a grave unattended.”

Harwell Parish Council, which looks after the site, said earth had been put on the grave to build up the level.

The council’s chairman, David Marsh, said: “This is part of routine maintenance. We do it at this time of year to increase the chance of grass growing in the spring time.”

But, in a complaint to the council, Mrs Brinkley said the family had always put more earth and turf on the grave as it sank.

She added: “It’s bad enough that hooligans damage property, but for someone you employ to take it upon themselves to dump unwanted debris on any grave they fancy, is incomprehensible.”