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24th Jun, 2022

Council meets to discuss contentious new cemetery rules

Malvern Editorial 31st Oct, 2013 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

CALLS to overhaul the rules governing the maintenance of graves at Great Malvern Cemetery have been discussed at the latest meeting of the full town council.

As the Observer went to press yesterday (Tuesday) a working party, formed to review the matter, was preparing to table its recommendations.

It comes after bereaved families reacted angrily to letters sent out by town clerk Richard Chapman instructing them to remove certain items such as mementos and keepsakes from memorial plots within eight weeks.

Mr Chapman said the Madresfield Road site was a lawn cemetery and large amounts of objects were preventing grounds staff from being able to maintain the graves to a high standard.

He requested items were limited to up to two vases placed at the front of the plots and referred families to a booklet which outlined the guidelines in full.

A Facebook page called ‘like and comment if you disagree with Malvern Cemetery’ was soon set up by upset relatives which has attracted nearly 1,300 members.

In response the council’s operations committee formed a working party which included grave owners, councillors and management staff.

Coun Patrick Mewton issued a motion for fellow members to ‘consider revising’ the rules governing the cemetery last night.

While Coun Martin Lawrence called for the body to introduce an ‘accompaniment’ rule, which would see a councillor or council employee meet with bereaved families in person to discuss maintaining their individual graves.

He added: “Such normal practice will ensure clarity, compassion and empathy are conveyed in discussions.”

Coun Lawrence also wanted the rules around requesting memorial benches in Victoria Park to be clarified.

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