No angels rule in Brockworth graveyard anger grieving mum
FAMILIES with loved ones buried in a church graveyard have been ordered to remove items around the headstones as they "breach cemetery rules".
Letters have been sent to relatives of people buried at St George's Church graveyard in Brockworth warning them decorative items will be removed if not collected.
One family, whose 24-year-old son is buried there, say they are heartbroken by the letter.
Two stone angels and a cross have been attached to the headstone of Kevin Camelleri, and there has been at least one there ever since he died in 2000, after taking his own life. Now his mum Lyn Thornton has been told the ornaments must go.
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She said: "It is a terrible situation. It is awful to lose a child, but sometimes the older they are the harder it is because you have built a life with them. The council has been very insensitive over this.
"The ornaments help make it personal and, to be honest, it helps to have something there. It can be quite a cold place, especially at this time of year when I could take up flowers now and tomorrow they would be dead.
"They are stuck to the headstone and not on the grass and they are not intrusive at all. We used to have a garden down the length of the plot but we eventually gave in when they said they wanted it all to be turfed over. Now we are fighting to keep the angels." Only one bunch of flowers is allowed under parish council rules, meaning she and Kevin's 14-year-old daughter are not allowed to leave flowers at the same time. Lyn was told to get a stonemason to remove the angels from the headstone but is worried it will be damaged.
Julie Shirley, parish council clerk, said: "It is hard to carry out [winter maintenance] work when there are lots of vases and other items around headstones.
"The guidelines have not changed and each one can have one headstone and one vase of flowers. When there is a small child involved we can relax it a little bit but over time they must stick to the rules."
In 2007, Lesley Hill, widow of Iraq war hero Mark, was ordered to remove angels on his grave at St George's in case someone injured themselves and took legal action.