Church burial rules 'just plain silly'

Published date: 23 July 2013 |
Published by: Kirstie Dolphin 
Read more articles by Kirstie Dolphin  Email reporter

Jan Dacombe is campaigning for grave yard rules to be reviewed 

A CONSULTANT who helps bereaved families has branded church yard burial rules as “plain silly”.

Jan Dacombe, from Cyffliog near Ruthin, set up a campaign a few years ago for the Church in Wales and England to review the rules and regulations for families burying their loved ones in a church grave yard.

Recent national news that a family could not have an inscription they wanted on their father’s grave has sparked Ms Dacombe to campaign again for the rules to be changed.

Ms Dacombe, a bereavement consultant for Compassionate Friends, said: “It can be quite upsetting and it is snobbery as well.

“I know one girl who wanted to put ‘daddy’ on her dad’s headstone but she was told she had to put ‘father’.

“It is out of touch and it’s putting people off the church.”

Ms Dacombe, who works with bereaved families, said she remembers a child who put a small frog ornament on his parents grave but it was removed.

Church yard burials and headstones have different regulations to general cemetries in the UK.

The Church in Wales regulations which cover the Diocese of St Asaph include, “Save for silk flowers and Remembrance Day poppies, no artificial wreaths or flowers, shrubs, permanent flower vases or containers, ornaments, chippings, gravel, paving stones or kerbs shall be placed on or around any grave or area set aside for cremated remains in a churchyard”.

Ms Dacombe said: “I am particularly concerned for children as they don't always have a voice.

“Some of the rules have to be there for safety but some of them are plain silly and not compassionate.”

Ms Dacombe is campaigning to the Church in Wales and to Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby to review the rules.

Alex Glanville, head of property services for the Church in Wales said: “Jan was invited a few months ago to write to us, setting out her concerns and proposals, for formal consideration and we look forward to hearing from her.

“Within our new churchyard guidance there is a specific section on tributes on graves.

“We understand the need for people to express their grief in different ways, but our approach has been to permit natural floral tributes as an appropriate and manageable decoration for graves.

“We do keep this matter under review as circumstances change as we appreciate it is a very difficult and sensitive matter.”

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