A get-tough action to make maintenance of a Skegness cemetery easier is set to bring heartache to many residents.
Loved ones of those buried in the cemetery face having artefacts and toys removed under new rules being brought in by Skegness Town Council.
They have until May 1 to collect the items or they will be removed, although rules will be relaxed for a six-month mourning period - according to a statement by the council.
Town clerk Steve Larner said: “St Mary’s cemetery is and always has been a lawn cemetery. Graves in sections are side by side with no paths between, and access to all areas is over the grassed graves.
“A lawn cemetery is also easier to maintain and therefore remains affordable. 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.
“The only exception will be during an initial six-month mourning period for new graves, during which the rules may be relaxed.
Brief guide to rules:-
After a funeral, the Council will mound the earth on the grave and put the flowers and wreaths on top. After 28 days (or less if the weather is bad) the Council will remove all floral tributes and dispose of them. After six months the grave will be levelled (weather permitting).
When 12 months has passed, a permanent monument may be erected, although occasionally ground conditions mean that a longer period is required for the ground to stabilise. A temporary wooden grave marker may be placed during this period.
Approval of the type and design of all memorials must be obtained from the Council for which a fee is payable.
No other memorials may be left on the grave.
No fences, kerbstone, planted shrubs, memorabilia, lights, bottles, stones, gravel, beads or plastic flowers are permitted.
On children’s graves a small cuddly toy or other small toy will be allowed if it is confined to the base of the memorial or where no memorial is in place, in the place it would be sited.
Laying of flowers
Fresh cut flowers may be left on the base of the memorial or where no memorial exists, in the place it would be sited. Do not use free standing vases as these break, get blown around and go missing. Plastic or wired flowers are not permitted.
Flowers will be removed when they start to decay
Full details may be obtained from Skegness Town Council Offices or on www.skegness.gov.uk
Anyone who wishes to keep existing items from graves should ensure they are removed before May 1,