FOR nearly 60 years, an unfinished granite headstone languished in a corner of a stonemason's yard, neglected but never forgotten.

But now it has been restored to the grave of the couple it commemorates _ thanks to some amateur sleuthing by the great-granddaughter they never knew.

The stone was erected in the graveyard at Aldfield, near Ripon, North Yorkshire, on the grave of farmer Robert Cassells, who died aged 75 in 1935.

His widow, Annie, passed away seven years later at the age of 81, and the stone was taken down so her name could be added to it.

But times were hard and, at the time, the family were unable to meet all the bill. The family firm of stonemasons, led by Herbert Green, waited patiently for settlement.

And they continued to wait patiently for almost 60 years - until the Cassells' great-granddaughter Suzanne Service discovered their grave was not marked.

She started doing some research and her inquiries eventually led her back to the mason's yard in Blossomgate, Ripon, now run by Herbert's son, Alfred.

And Alfred, to her amazement, was able to lead her straight to the monument, still there waiting for the family, after six decades.

Suzanne's father, Norman, settled the bill and the family tidied up the overgrown grave before returning the headstone to its rightful place.

"I was really grateful that they had not got rid of it, or reused it in some way. It really was very kind and thoughtful of them," said Suzanne, yesterday.

Mr Green said: "My father always said our customers were our friends, so we waited and we didn't mind. Granite lasts a long time."