Mourners told to tidy remembrance garden for ‘health and safety’

The garden of remembrance at Crofton cemetery
The garden of remembrance at Crofton cemetery
Hampshire police and crime commissioner Michael Lane 

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GRIEVING families have been ordered to remove ornaments from a garden of remembrance – or a council will bin them.

Signs have been put up at Crofton Cemetery in Stubbington warning mourners that items such as solar lights will be taken away later this month as they could be a ‘health and safety risk’.

Only small floral tributes will be permitted, says Fareham Borough Council.

It has angered Martin Skelton, of Rectory Close in Stubbington, who regularly visits the garden where his wife, Ann, is interred.

The 65-year-old said: ‘There are all sorts of monuments for loved ones and you could say some are a bit over the top, but I don’t understand the logic of why these things are being picked on.

‘When you lose someone really close you should be able to leave things for them. It would be a shame if people couldn’t grieve properly. It’s a time when people need support, why wipe that all away?’

Although there have been no injuries resulting from monuments at the cemetery, the council says items will be removed after April 25.

Other gardens of remembrance at Fareham, Posbrook Lane, St Peter’s, Roman Grove and Holly Hill cemeteries are also affected by the policy.

The move has upset Tracey Buckley, who put her 20-year-old son Carl’s ashes at Crofton last December after he died from a brain tumour.

She has put down solar lights and two plant pots in red and white – the colours of his beloved Liverpool FC.

Mrs Buckley, of Eastfield Avenue in Fareham, said: ‘One of the reasons I chose Crofton was because people were able to do their own little thing there.

‘Why have they suddenly changed their minds? It seems very insensitive to me. It is upsetting. I’ve paid for Carl’s plot, so why have they got the right to turn around and say we can’t put anything whatsoever there?’

Cllr Keith Evans, who’s in charge of cemeteries, said: ‘This isn’t a new policy, but we noticed that things were building up there (Crofton).

‘We know that a lot of people tend to visit the gardens around Mother’s Day, which is why the signs were put up the other day.

‘We do this occasionally at our various sites and we try to handle it sensitively. We haven’t had to throw anything away yet.

‘We want to avoid clutter and things that have sharp edges.’

Of neighbouring councils’ gardens of remembrance, Gosport asks that tributes don’t encroach on adjacent plots, Havant will contact owners of plots where they deem tributes to have become hazardous and Portsmouth restricts some items to allow maintenance.