VOTE: Families express anger at grave decoration ban

FAMILIES have expressed outrage after the council confirmed toys, candles and ornaments will be banned from adult graves.

Worthing Borough Council cabinet member Clive Roberts and his Adur counterpart, Keith Dollemore, have agreed to stop graves being decorated with adornments such as wind chimes and tea lights.

However, the rule will only apply to adult graves, with ornaments allowed on children’s graves in the children’s section of Durrington Cemetery where the area is fenced in.

This week, bereaved families expressed their “disgust” at the new rules.

Deborah Dann, 45, of Hatfield Walk, Durrington, said: “I cannot believe what they are doing. It think it is disgusting.

“It is the place where you can go to grieve. Why should they take that away from us?”

Her dad George died suddenly while on his post round in Sompting several years ago when he was 60 years old.

Over the years, ornaments have been stolen off her dad’s grave. However, she does not feel that justifies banning all items from graves.

“They have only come out with this because people have had things stolen,” she said. “If they did their job in the first place and had proper security up there, which they say they have, we would not have this. They are making us lose out.”

Jo Crouch’s daughter, Holly-Ann, died when she was just 15 weeks old and is buried in the children’s section.

She said although she was glad she would be able to carry on decorating the grave, the new rule was not fair for other families.

Jo, 36, of Cheviot Road, Worthing, said: “I know a few people with older people up there and they do the same as me. One of my friend’s has a sister buried there after she died from cancer.

“It is not fair. There should not be different rules. It is still somebody’s relative. It is still somebody’s child or grandma.”

Alongside this new rule is a change in reserving graves. The changes allow grave plots to be reserved, for a fee, for five years, with reservations extended for a further five years if a second fee is paid.

The previous rule was described as “outdated” by officers. Chris Bradley, head of parks and foreshore, said the decision to stop residents purchasing grave spaces was probably taken because the councils felt out of pocket when graves were reserved for up to 30 years.

However, withdrawing the service had led to a reduction of “real choice” for bereaved families.

The rules affect three cemeteries and one churchyard in Adur plus two cemeteries in Worthing.

Do you think the council is right to ban grave decoration? Cast your vote in the panel to the right of the screen, and leave your comments below.