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Relatives express their anger at being asked to remove grave memorials

PUBLISHED: 12:30 23 March 2018 | UPDATED: 10:49 26 March 2018

Watton Cemetery. People whose relatives who are buried there are angry at being asked to remove memorials from the graves. Picture: Angi Davies

Watton Cemetery. People whose relatives who are buried there are angry at being asked to remove memorials from the graves. Picture: Angi Davies

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Relatives with family members buried in a town's cemetery have spoken of their anger and hurt at being asked to remove personal items from the graves.

The sign placed at Watton Cemetery. Picture: Angi DaviesThe sign placed at Watton Cemetery. Picture: Angi Davies

For the past 15 years Angi Davies has been visiting her mother Shelia Younge’s grave at Watton Cemetery, which she has called a “wonderful and colourful place of remembrance”.

However on a Mother’s Day visit to the site, Miss Davies said she was shocked to see a notice placed on a gate by the town council.

The notice states the rules of the cemetery which says each grave should only have two vases and items including artificial flowers and ornaments are prohibited.

It asks for prohibited items to be removed by July 31 or they will be removed by the council.

Angi Davies with her mother Shelia Younge. Picture: Angi DaviesAngi Davies with her mother Shelia Younge. Picture: Angi Davies

Miss Davies, who lives in Norwich, said: “What makes this cemetery so special is the how it reflects so much love with flowers and personalised memorials at the grave sides. They are neat and tidy and nothing is beyond the confines of anyone’s plot. For as long as I can remember, this has been the case.”

Miss Davies has set up a petition calling on the council to consider alternative solutions to the reasons for each restriction, such as artificial flowers being allowed.

“Some people cannot go down to the cemetery all the time,” she said. “There needs to be some sort of provision for long-lasting memorials.”

So far close to 500 people have signed the petition.

The grave of Angi Davies' mother Sheila Younge at Watton Cemetery. Items like the tree are memorials which Watton Town Council say are not prohibited on graves. Picture: Angi DaviesThe grave of Angi Davies' mother Sheila Younge at Watton Cemetery. Items like the tree are memorials which Watton Town Council say are not prohibited on graves. Picture: Angi Davies

Hannah Weatherill said: “My Dad is buried up there and find it disgusting they are trying to dictate what you can have on a grave, let alone removing things It’s bad enough coming to terms with the loss of a loved one.”

Watton mayor Stan Hebborn said the council have received complaints about items in the cemetery from other families, and maintenance crews who have said they are unable to cut the grass.

He said: “The rules have always been in place and when they take out a plot, people sign to say they will adhere to the council rules.

“We know it is a sensitive issue and councillors have family members in the cemetery so we are all impacted by it. But we are enforcing the existing rules in response to complaints.”

A stone cat at the grave of Shelia Younge at Watton Cemetery. Angi Davies is upset that this would be removed from her mother's graves. Picture: Angi DaviesA stone cat at the grave of Shelia Younge at Watton Cemetery. Angi Davies is upset that this would be removed from her mother's graves. Picture: Angi Davies

The removed items will be kept in storage by the council.

To view the petition visit change.org

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