Families rejoice at graves U-turn

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A GRIEVING mother who defied orders to remove tributes from her son’s grave is celebrating after a council U-turn.

Following a review of Wyre Council’s cemeteries in October 2008 the authority decided to cut back on grave decorations to ‘improve the safety and comfort of all cemetery users’.

But after an outcry from heartbroken families the council approved a decision to only remove tributes from burials that took place after February 2009.

Relatives who buried loved ones after that date had to sign a contract to say no decoration, including kerbing, edgings fencing or ornaments, would be left on the grave. That condition still remains.

Joan Grundy’s son Stuart was buried in Fleetwood Cemetery following his death, aged 10, of cerebral palsy in 2006.

Mrs Grundy, from Fleetwood, told The Gazette she was delighted to be able to keep her memorabilia.

She said: “It’s a big weight lifted from my shoulders because I was so worried we would have to remove Stuart’s belongings.

“I was particularly concerned about the railings we put up because we bought them using his last birthday money – it would have felt like we were taking his present off him.”

Mrs Grundy, who signed a 3,000-signature petition against the original policy, said she felt sorry for those burying loved ones after 2009.

She said: “I am devastated for people who cannot leave tributes on graves because I know how much it means to me.

“I think there will be a backlash to be honest because I’ve already had one lady ask why we can have items and she cannot.

“There should be a contract which says if a grave looks untidy or is genuinely a health and safety issue the council can remove tributes – not an outright ban.

“I just hope the council doesn’t change its mind if a lot of people complain about the decision – I would never leave my son’s side if it did.”

Fleetwood campaigner councillor Mark Hamer said he was pleased common sense had prevailed but the fight would continue for those burying relatives after 2009.

He said: “We have achieved what we wanted, but I’m very disappointed for those people who will not be allowed memorabilia for no good reason – the council has been misguided with its thinking.”

A Wyre council spokesman said graves in lawned cemeteries were supposed to be free of decoration but it had been lenient in the past which had led to abuse.

She said the council had listened to the objections and felt it has reached a compromise.