Council restricts grave decoration

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A couple have been left heartbroken after new rules were brought in restricting mourners to one flower pot at a council-owned cemetery.

Sheila Gardiner, 67, and her husband, Melvyn 64, were disgusted to be told that a flower display costing £35 had been pulled up and removed from a composted garden area in front of Mr Gardiner’s parents’ burial plot in Glemsford.

Glemsford Parish Council has told the family that the area in front of the stones near St Mary’s Church must be left to lawn. Mrs Gardiner said the family had been regularly landscaping the area for the past 20 years.

“If it had just been left and the graves were a shambles, I could understand, but they are really pretty,” she said.

“My husband is severely disabled and makes such an effort to go down and make it look nice.

“It’s heartbreaking. All the displays are beautiful. There is a grave of a little girl and the family leave little windmills – even those were removed.”

“If kids had done it and had been caught, they would have been prosecuted.”

The couple, who live in Haverhill, have contacted the parish council to complain.

The are particularly unhappy as they say many of the flowers pulled up were dumped on the headstone and left damaged and broken.

Parish council clerk Debbie George said the decision to restrict flowers and decorations was taken following complaints and requests for the area to be tidied up.

Mrs George said she understood the concerns of some families, but added the council had received several positive comments and was not able to make individual exceptions.

She strongly denied that flowers had simply been dumped.

“I personally find that very difficult to believe,” she said. “I helped pull them up and we were very respectful as it is a very delicate subject.”

She said strong winds could have been to blame for the damaged plants.