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Families’ heartache at ruling on graves
DEVASTATED families have been asked to remove trinkets and ornaments from the graves of their loved ones at Great Malvern Cemetery.
Malvern Town Council has received a furious response after sending out letters reminding people of its strict rules about what can and cannot be placed on and around graves.
Town clerk Richard Chapman said the number of objects being left around some graves is making it impossible for grounds staff to keep the cemetery maintained. But distraught relatives with loved ones buried at the cemetery have slammed the letters as “unnecessary and heavy-handed”.
Several people have contacted the Worcester News’ sister paper the Malvern Gazette to complain about the council’s decision while a Facebook group set up in protest already has more than 1,000 members.
Geoff Doe, aged 61, of Russell Close, described the situation as “petty” and “bureaucracy gone mad”.
His granddaughter Alyssa was buried at the cemetery seven years ago when she died in Mr Doe’s arms just minutes after she was born.
He said the family have always taken great pride in keeping her grave maintained and decorated neatly with small statues, flower holders and artificial flowers. “It is a little child’s grave and it does not look right for it to be bare,” he said. “There is very strong feeling about this and we are going to fight it.
“If families are prepared to put the effort in to make the cemetery look nice and a more welcoming place then I feel strongly they should be allowed to.”
Ann Blackmore’s daughter Samantha Crumplin was buried at the cemetery when she died of ovarian cancer last April, aged just 32. Mrs Blackmore and her grandchildren Jessica, 15, and Daniel, 12, who now live with her in Dorset, were “devastated” to hear what is happening at the cemetery.
Although the council’s policy is not new, Mr Chapman admitted guidelines may not have been passed on to all families at the time plots were bought. The letter sent out to families says that during a recent inspection the council found “a number of graves that have a large number of vases, pots, artificial flowers and in some cases fencing or kerbing around the graves”.
It says items on graves should be kept to one or two pots or vases and that any additional adornments – including artificial flowers, and mementoes should be removed within eight weeks.
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