The Vicar of the charming village of Lyndhurst in Hampshire has got hot under the collar. The Rev Dr James Bruce spoke out after it was revealed that the ashes, of what appeared several people, had been tipped onto the grass at the graveyard near his church.
The ashes were discovered by a maintenance worker, and it was reported that the amount was comparable with someone emptying a fireplace.
The cemetery is under the jurisdiction of parish council. The Council require that anyone wishing to scatter ashes there must register them with them and pay a £115 fee.
The vicar said: “As a vicar it’s distressing to hear that human ashes have been unceremoniously dumped without any proper respect being shown for the deceased.”
Mrs Weston the councils representative responsible for such matters told councillors: “To my mind it’s incredibly irreverent. It’s the last thing you do for a person, and yet these ashes have just been dumped there.”
Council chairman Mark Colle added: “It’s like they’re emptying a fireplace – that’s what it sounds like. It’s ridiculous.”
Cllr George Bisson claimed it seemed to be a case of someone saying: “I’m not burying someone, I’m just scattering their ashes, so I can do it where I want.”
Speaking after the meeting Cllr Rolle said: “It was the sheer volume of ashes that caused such disquiet.
“We’ve put a lot of time and energy into mapping the cemetery so that anyone trying to find lost relatives can discover who is where.
“We welcome people leaving ashes but they must go through the proper channels.
“Maybe they didn’t know there was a process to be gone through. I’d hate to think they were just trying to dodge a fee.”
So what have the council agreed to do to stop this from occurring again? Install another notice highlighting the rules. Well that should work.
Lets be honest they are pretty powerless if someone chooses to do this and a sign is likely to make no difference what so ever.
True it is anti social, but is it that bad? The ashes were scattered where ashes were supposed to go (the cemetery), the main difference is that they dodged to £115 fee. One might presume that the fee was the motive, but who knows the persons financial situation or whether it was the deceased wishes? I wonder if the council makes provision for those less well off, after all this is just an administrative fee, with no significant outlay. Am I being too soft on antisocial behaviour? Maybe, but it is not something I am generally accused of.
As for the quantity scattered potentially representing more than one person. Well I have an open fire place and would suggest that the ashes removed from that would equate to about one persons (roughly), but then you would expect the vicar to know this?