Concern has been raised over a council stating that its lengthsman will be removing and binning items from graves at a village cemetery to make way for mowing. The announcement from Checkley Parish Council was recently made on the council’s Facebook page.
Concern has been raised over a council stating that its lengthsman will be removing and binning items from graves at a village cemetery to make way for mowing.
The announcement from Checkley Parish Council was recently made on the council’s Facebook page.
With the header “Urgent polite cemetery notice” it stated: “Checkley Parish Council would like to remind residents who have loved ones buried in our lovely peaceful Hollington Road cemetery that this cemetery is a lawned cemetery and therefore mowing access is required at all times to all areas.
“It is outlined in the cemetery regulations available on the cemetery noticeboard and https://www.checkleyparishcouncil.co.uk/cemetery/ that: As per the regulations: Only standard memorial vases are permitted and must be attached to the base and to the side of an approved memorial; No breakable or unauthorised items of any description e.g. glass, earthenware, bricks, blocks etc. of any kind will be allowed. Any such items will, in the interest of safety, be immediately removed and disposed of without notification; The front of the memorial must remain grassed, no trees, shrubs or plants may be planted on the grave.
“If you maintain a grave that has items/plants across the plot (such as the examples pictured) and not in the allocated headstone area, then please could you remove asap.
“If items are not removed then the council will have no option but to remove them for you.
“If you are unable to attend to remove these items then please contact the clerk asap and we will arrange something with you – email@example.com.”
The post had initially included the statement: “If you do not remove these items then our lengthsman will remove them for you (these items will be binned).” But this was later removed from the post and changed to: “If items are not removed then the council will have no option but to remove them for you.”
Many people have commented on the council’s Facebook post, airing concern over the actions, as well as the wording of the post.
One Facebook user said: “I’m shocked with how they have come across…. such a shame,” while another said: “Disgusting, so the gardeners have never lost a loved one? I know time is money but respect the dead.”
One Facebook user, who has loved ones buried at the cemetery, said: “I have loved ones in the cemetery. So disappointed to read this. It could have been said with a bit more respect to the families and friends of the people who are buried there.”
Another Facebook user said: “Madness. If it was my job I would personally remove the items and put love and care into every grave. Someone who has no doubt paid towards the council for decades. If you can’t move a few items to make their grave look nice then why even bother at all. It’s a joke how council money is wasted and then you try to cut corners on basic morals. If you can’t respect the dead you may as well give up. What a world. Binning items that are placed for the dead, you are dead inside if you can do that. Moving dead flowers fine but not sentimental objects. No wonder everyone’s so depressed in this country, you people are unreal. If the council can’t afford to work respectfully around graves then don’t bother doing it at all. Everything’s about money.”
While another said: “It’s crazy that you or your family own that plot of land but still your family can’t place what they want on it. How does that even work legally? Baffling.”
Concern was also raised that the council representative had posted photographs of certain graves with the post. One Facebook user said: “There was really no need for the photographs. You can see who’s graves they are on some. They didn’t need to publish those. It’s just so disrespectful for both the deceased and their families too. They could have got their point across just as well without taking and publishing photos of graves. It’s all kinds of wrong.”
Another Facebook user commented: “While there is no law on posting public photographs of graveyards, as they are in a public place, and gravestones are classed as public monuments – headstones and grave plots are emotionally charged monuments for the deceased loved ones. Airing the fact that social decorum was clearly missed in this instance by the (council) who has posted the photos and the comments, with insensitivity and no compassion. Agreed there are rules in place, but my 78-year-old grandfather doesn’t use social media, so won’t have seen his deceased wife’s memorial plastered all over Facebook with the demand to remove her plant pot. The issue is the fact that photos have been posted without any thought, and a lengthsman/woman who (excuse the tone) can’t be (bothered) to move eight pots (yes only around eight gravesites have things in the middle of the plot, that they paid for) three feet back to the headstone, or clean up after him/herself. I have lost count at the amount of times we have had to clean dead cut grass off the whole headstone. I have emailed a complaint, in regards to the tone and manner in which the (council) has spoken to people, and the photos posted to social media. If anyone else is offended by either I suggest you do the same via their Facebook page.”
The Times & Echo contacted Checkley Parish Council for comment on the concerns that had been raised, but, at the time of print, had not received any response.
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