A GRIEVING daughter has been upset by a Wiltshire churchyard sign preventing relatives and friends from leaving artificial flowers and ornaments on the graves of their loved ones.

Sandie Chaddock says the sign ‘No artificial flowers. Thank you’ appeared at St Barnabas Church in Beanacre, which is managed by the St Barnabas Local Church Committee.

Mrs Chaddock, 64, of Carlton Row, Trowbridge, regularly visits to place flowers on the graves of her mother and father, Eva and William Newbery, and her grand-daughter Charlotte Talbot.

“My daughter Nicola is absolutely devastated. If she could move Charlotte, she would.

“We came here one day to find all the artificial flowers and ornaments had been removed.

“It is terribly upsetting, not just for ourselves but for the relatives and friends other people who are buried here.”

The St Barnabas LCC says it is obliged to obey the Diocese of Salisbury and Melksham Parochial Church Council regulations in relation to what can be placed on graves.

It says the regulations prohibit people placing any artificial flowers and ornaments except remembrance poppies on the graves of their loved ones. These include statues, toys, wind chimes, photographs and similar ephemera.

The Melksham PCC does allow them for a period not exceeding 13 months from the date of internment as a mark of respect for those who are grieving.

But the notice states: “After 13 months from the date of internment the regulations require that the area be levelled and flowers and all other mementos be removed except that cut flowers and wreaths may be placed after that time.”

“Any flowers or wreath that has faded, wilted or died will need to be removed. No kerbs, railings, chippings or other matter can be placed around the burial site. Burial does not confer any right of ownership of the land.”

The notice continues: “Maintenance of St Barnabas Churchyard has been delegated by the PCC to St Barnabas Local Church Committee (LCC) who are required to ensure the regulations are complied with.

“St Barnabas LCC recognises that some relatives and friends may wish to plant a flower or plant in front of the headstone and in those circumstances the LCC will allow a small cultivated area in front of the headstone, measuring no more than 0.75 metre in length (2.5 inches) and 0.5 metre in width (1.8 inches) for this purpose. Plants should not be allowed to grow beyond the area, and should be no more than 30cm in height.

“Cremated remains may have a flat stone measuring no more than 30cm x 37cm placed flush with the turf. No fixed vase or other object is permitted.”