A mourning family have been forbidden from decorating a grave with stones – even though it’s almost impossible for flowers to survive on the plot.
The Lithgo family wanted to spruce up Velda Lithgo’s grave, which is situated under a big tree in St Giles’ Church, Totternhoe, so they arranged a display of stones to spell out ‘Nan’.
However, their rockery was taken down when the Rev Helen Gardner said it contravened churchyard regulations.
Velda’s son Martin and his son Craig were told by Lee Coley of the Diocese of St Albans that in order to appeal they would have to apply for a faculty – at a cost of £250.
Craig said: “It’s pathetic. We’ve been told we are allowed to plant flowers on the grave but nothing will grow. Stones are just as natural.
“Helen is being stubborn – she won’t change her mind. She is part of the parish which decides if a faculty is successful, so we’d be wasting £250.”
Velda passed away in 2011 and was buried next to Martin’s father, who passed away in 1978.
Martin said: “I used to take my mother to my father’s grave for years and flowers have never been able to grow. The rocks looked better than the graves around my mum’s.”
The Rev Gardner said: “We want to do all we can to help families to grieve at the time of the funeral and afterwards and are always willing to take time to explain what is allowed on the grave itself.
“We have had to restore the grave ourselves in this case to make it possible to continue with maintenance and preserve the amenity of the churchyard for all who wish to visit and enjoy it.”