‘Don’t put my teddy in bin’: Heartache of mum over churchyard rules in Winshorpe

Serina Pickering by the grave of her baby daughter in St Mary's churchyard in St Mary's Churchyard in Winthorpe. ANL-170322-084434001
Serina Pickering by the grave of her baby daughter in St Mary's churchyard in St Mary's Churchyard in Winthorpe. ANL-170322-084434001

A heartbroken Skegness mum says she has not been able to remove teddies and flowers from the graveside of her baby daughter.

Serina Pickering, 33, started a petition in September last year after receiving a letter from Skegness Town Council telling her to do so.

St Mary's Cemetery in Winthorpe near Skegness. ANL-170316-150352001

St Mary's Cemetery in Winthorpe near Skegness. ANL-170316-150352001

This week the council has given relatives of loved ones buried in St Mary’s Churchyard in Winthorpe until May 1 to remove artefacts and toys or face them being removed.

Serina said: “I just can’t bring myself to take the stuff off yet.

“I really hope they don’t put my teddy in bin – it’s been there nearly 17 years. This so unfair - that was my place to go on my own to make it nice.

“If I had known this would have ever happened, I would have loved to have her in my garden and then made it nice.”

Single mum of four Serina became pregnant at 16 and was devastated when her daughter, Brittany, was stillborn.

When she received the letter from the council last year, she told the Standard: “I cried all morning when I got the letter. “I’d put flowers, teddies and a little fence on there. I’d paid for the plot and it wasn’t hurting anything. I just think it’s wrong not to be allowed to put things on it.”

Last week the council issued new guidelines regarding the upkeep of the churchyard. Steve Larner, town clerk, stated: “Unfortunately, several families are choosing to put artefacts across the graves, including fences, kerbstones, planted shrubs, beads, stones solar powered lights, toys and even beer cans.

“Some have even dug up the grass that was sown when the grave was levelled. This blocks free access to other graves and makes maintenance more difficult, time consuming and expensive.

“As a result, the Council has decided to remove any items that contravene the cemetery rules as from May 1.”

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