A Father And His Three Children Have Spent Quarantine Cleaning Headstones At Local Cemeteries

'You’ve got to be respectful of the fact that it’s someone’s family member,' said Ryan van Emmenis.

Gravestones fill a cemetery.
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'You’ve got to be respectful of the fact that it’s someone’s family member,' said Ryan van Emmenis.

Ryan van Emmenis, a father of three from Winsford, Cheshire in England, has been spending his quarantine during the coronavirus pandemic cleaning local headstones. Joined by his children, Brooke, 12, Lana, 4, and Larsson, 3, Ryan has been visiting local cemeteries to give some neglected headstones some love and care, according to The Surrey Comet.

No one asked Ryan to clean, nor is he being paid to do so. This was something he wanted to do to give back to the community and show some respect to people that have passed away. He was inspired to begin this project when he saw a friend’s post on Facebook depicting a loved one’s time-battered headstone. Ryan, who owns a professional cleaning company himself, was happy to offer a free cleaning of the stone to freshen it up. Before long, this became a daily activity for him and his children.

They started out at St. Chad’s and Swanlow Park cemeteries which are close to their home. Because his children are still quite young, they are more than happy to begin the process with some soap and water. After that, Ryan comes in to complete the job with strong cleaning chemicals. By the time they are done, even the oldest headstones look like new again.

In an interview, Ryan explained that he feels this project is meaningful as it shows his children why it is important to have respect for others.

“It’s good for the children to learn a little bit of history but also respect their environment. As young as they are, they can still get involved and they can still help. Obviously they don’t do the chemical side of things, but they can do the brushing. They’re quite good at it to be fair.”

Ryan does not take this task lightly and puts his best effort into every stone. He recognizes that each stone represents a person and keeps that in mind the entire time he is working.

“You’ve got to be respectful of the fact that it’s someone’s family member, it’s someone’s memories. You’ve got to make sure you’re using the right products and you’re being careful and delicate with it,” he said.

Ryan’s hard work not only gets the stones looking better but makes them easier to read. He takes careful attention to clean off algae and mold.

As The Inquisitr previously reported, many people across the world have been stepping up to help others in the midst of the pandemic. A Malaysian woman named Norfarrah Syahirah Shaari, who was born without arms, learned how to sew with her feet to make personal protective equipment for healthcare workers.