Families’ outrage at grave ornaments ban

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

Adur and Worthing councils have agreed this month 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 sections are enclosed by a fence.

This week, grieving 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, who was a huge Manchester United fan, died suddenly while on his post round in Sompting several years ago when he was just 60-years-old.

Over the years, ornaments have been stolen of her dad’s grave such as solar lights. 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.”

Joanna 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.

Joanna, 36, of Cheviot Road, Worthing, said: “I know a few people with older people up there and they do the same.

“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.

“It is going to be World War Three.”

Alongside this change in rules, 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.

Adur’s previous rules were adopted in 2001 and were described as “outdated” by officers.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.

Officers felt a shorter reservation time would help overcome previous problems.

Cemeteries affected by the change are: Mill Lane Cemetery, Old Shoreham Cemetery, Southwick Cemetery and Lancing and Sompting Cemetery.

A decision, taken by Adur District Council cabinet member Keith Dollemore and his Worthing counterpart, Clive Roberts, approves changes to cemetery rules in the district.