Familes asked to remove ‘illegal’ items from Woodkirk graves

Notices have been put up in Woodkirk Churchyard.
Notices have been put up in Woodkirk Churchyard.

Families with loved ones buried in a Woodkirk churchyard are being asked not to put certain items on graves or they will face having them removed.

The Rev Amanda Barraclough, vicar of St Mary’s parish church, has written to families informing them that any items not permitted by Diocese of Wakefield rules must be removed by the end of March.

These items include solar lights, ornaments, figurines personal memorabilia, pebbles, chippings or stones and any breakable items.

The letter explains that if the items are not taken away by that time the Diocese has given the church authority to remove them “so that this area is able to retain an atmosphere appropriate to a churchyard.”

The letter also stresses the decision is that of the Diocese of Wakefield, not that of St Mary’s or Mrs Barraclough.

“Quite often people see it as a public cemetery rather than a churchyard and people do not appreciate the difference,” she said.

“The Diocese have done an inspection and have said this should be a place of quiet reflection.”

Mrs Barraclough said families are sent copies of the regulations at the time of new burials but she appreciated that was always a difficult time for people to take full note of them.

“People are raw and grieving and they don’t really take that all in,” she said.

“We have tried polite letters to individuals but they have been ignored. We also put notices up in the churchyard but someone removed them.”

Anyone taking issue with removals is being asked to contact the Diocese directly.