Memorial can stay in Winthorpe cemetery ‘for now’

The sign placed on graves at St Mary's churchyard in Winthorpe which has caused uproar from families. ANL-171004-122010001
The sign placed on graves at St Mary's churchyard in Winthorpe which has caused uproar from families. ANL-171004-122010001

A decision to force people to remove memorial items from the graves of their loved ones in Winthorpe has been put on hold - for the time-being.

Mum Serina Pickering made a heart-wrenching plea to Skegness Town councillors to allow her to keep the teddies and memorabilia she had laid at her baby daughter’s grave in St Mary’s Churchyard.

When you lose a loved one, grieving does not have a time limit

Serina Pickering

The council has agreed to suspend enforcing new rules while a Council Working Group is set up to reassess the decision.

Serina, 33, said: “I stood up at the council meeting (last Wednesday) and burst into tears.

“I said to them they do not understand the torture this has caused me. I couldn’t bear the thought of the teddies and items I’d left on her grave being thrown in the bin.

“When you lose a loved one, grieving does not have a time limit.”

Mum-of-four Serina was 16 when she became pregnant with Brittany, who was stillborn.

She’d put flowers, teddies and a small fence at her daughter’s grave, creating a ‘forever garden’. But she was devastated when she received a letter from Skegness Town Council asking her to remove items, which included a teddy she had bought 17 years ago when she thought her baby girl was coming home.

Skegness Town Council had originally announced it was giving people until May 1 to remove items such as planted shrubs, lights, memorabilia, plastic flowers or toys that ‘contravened’ cemetery rules.

However, after Serina’s story was featured in the Skegness Standard and she started a petition which gained 300 signatures, the town council made a U-turn on its decision - for now.

Steve Larner, clerk at Skegness Town Council, said: “The council decided to put on hold any enforcement of the existing rules until a Council Working Group can be set up. This Working Group will: seek views from a wide range of those who have connections with the cemetery; visit the cemetery and look at the issues first-hand; speak to staff and understand any issues relating to the day-to-day operation of the cemetery.

“Once they have gathered this information, they will report back to council and at this point council will then consider if the existing rules are appropriate or whether they need to be amended.”

Read more

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