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Families angered by grave clearances






Anger has been fuelled by a heap of poignant memorials confiscated from gravesides at Upper Lambourn cemetery such as stone angels, carved memorials and figurines which have been temporarily dumped in a heap.
However, the council has insisted that it is only enforcing established guidelines.
One of those affected is Adele Porter, whose cousin Dean Bantick died, aged 28 last July.
She said: “The village is in uproar over this. They allowed us to keep a wooden cross made by his granddad, but cuddly toys, flowers and other mementoes have been removed and smashed.”
Mr Bantick’s mother Charmaine McDermott has handed a petition with more than 100 signatures to the council, asking it to reconsider.
The action has infuriated many visitors to the online Newbury and Thatcham Facebook page who branded the council “insensitive” and “disrepectful” for leaving the pile of broken memorials.
And contractors Scofell Landscapes, who cut the grass at the cemetery, were keen to distance themselves from the row.
Spokeswoman Rebecca Walker said; “Some of our employees live in Lambourn and have been approached in the street by angry residents - it’s nothing to do with us and we have not been involved in it.”
Rules long ago drawn up by the parish council and Parochial Church Council (PCC) allow only pre-approved memorials of quarried material, while kerbstones, railings, glass, china, plants and shrubs are banned.
Council chairman Peter Iveson said: “We are only enforcing regulations. A letter was sent out to all those concerned and a notice was posted in the cemetery in January. It’s not a nice thing to have to do but these are regulations that should have been enforced a long time ago.”
The removal was carried out by a joint council and PCC working party and spokeswoman Georgina Cornel said: “We had numerous complaints from other users about the state of the cemetery, so we can’t please everybody. However we will deal with these issues on a case-by-case basis and urge people to write to us via the parish clerks.”
The clerks can be contacted via the village website, which also lists the cemetery rules in full, at www.lambourn.info
o WHAT’S your view? Email reporter John Garvey at john.garvey@newburynews.co.uk, or telephone (01635) 564528.




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