Ultimatum on fake flowers in rural graveyards

Appeal to parishioners: The regulations on what's acceptable on graves at St Peter's Church in Chailey
Appeal to parishioners: The regulations on what's acceptable on graves at St Peter's Church in Chailey

An ultimatum has been issued to people leaving inappropriate items on the graves of loved ones in two country graveyards.

Artificial flowers are prohibited by the Diocese of Chichester but they are a continuing problem at St Peter’s and at St Mary’s in Chailey.

Now family members have been given until the end of August to remove artificial and silk flowers, and other items that should not be there – the diocese also bans such things as mementoes and toys.

After that time they will be removed by the Priest-in-Charge at Chailey and churchwardens.

Writing in the July edition of Chailey News, the Rev John Miller-Maskell said: “We went to the trouble of placing large noticeboards with the regulations printed on them in both graveyards, to help people know what was permitted and to avoid any difficulty.

“Unfortunately some people are ignoring the information and we have had one board in St Mary’s graveyard pulled out of the ground and thrown in the bushes.

“The information is there to help and the rules are laid down for every Church of England graveyard by the Chancellor of the Diocese, not by me.”

He said the graveyards are private property owned by the Church and as such it makes the rules on what happens in them.

Mr Miller-Maskell continued: “I am appealing to those that use the graveyards to desist from placing artificial and silk flowers plus other items that are contrary to the regulations on the graves. I know that this is an emotive issue and that the wildlife eat the fresh flowers, but they are rural graveyards.

“We have no wish to upset anyone and my churchwardens and I find it a very unpleasant duty when we have to remove the items from the graves. It would benefit all concerned if they were not put there in the first place.”