A Bircotes couple will finally be able to place a headstone at their daughter’s grave after a public backlash forced a town council to back down.
Keith and Emma Hampson, of Crewe Road, wanted to have the Disney character ‘Eeyore’ on the headstone at their daughter’s grave but Harworth and Bircotes Town Council initially turned down the plans.
However, the decision has now been reversed after a petition received 2,000 signatures in just 24 hours.
Hundreds of messages of support were also posted on ‘Evelyn’s Headstone’ Facebook group and a councillor submitted a letter which slammed the whole saga as questioning the ‘credibility’ of the town council.
“We can’t thank the people that have come forward to support us enough,” Keith said.
“We have so many people to thank and we will do so in person.”
We can’t thank the people that have come forward to support us enoughKeith Hampson
“We are thankful to the council for reviewing our case and granting the headstone.”
Keith and Emma received the devastating news that their daughter, Evelyn Barbara, had no heartbeat and had died on 19th January 2015 when Emma was 37-weeks pregnant.
Three days later, Evelyn was born at Bassetlaw Hospital and Keith and Emma were able to spend the next 48 hours with her before laying her to rest at Harworth Cemetery.
The couple, who also have another four-year-old daughter, Scarlett, designed her headstone at Doncaster Memorials, but the council rejected the design due to the ‘bright blue stonework’ and ‘coloured lettering’.
After several discussions, Keith and his wife met the council once again but a negative comment about the design reduced Emma to tears.
“We were horrified by what was said,” Keith added. It really upset my wife.”
Keith and Emma received the news their plans for their daughter’s headstone had been approved on Monday 9th March after another council meeting.
The Guardian has seen a letter from Coun David Challinor which was submitted before the meeting.
He wrote: “It is the council’s responsibility to listen to the views of the whole community and as the matter in question has been made public it is clear it is the view of the local and wider community that the wrong decision has been made.”
“In addition to the distress this matter has caused the family, I believe the way this matter has been handled has now caused the people of Harworth and Bircotes to question the credibility of the town council.”
Emma has since donated her wedding dress to Cherished Gowns for Angel Babies UK who make funeral gowns for babies out of donated wedding dresses.
A spokesman for Harworth and Bircotes Town Council said: “On 23rd February, Harworth and Bircotes executive officer received a design for a child’s headstone from a monumental stonemason acting for the Hampson Family, to be placed in the cemetery on Tickhill Road.”
“On receiving the application from the monumental stonemasons it was considered such an usual design it was referred to the council for consideration as is standard practice in these situations.”
“Council initially felt that the monument was not in keeping with the headstones already in the cemetery, for a number of reasons including the bright blue stonework and coloured lettering.”
“As part of the decision making process the town council consulted with three other Nottinghamshire town council’s, all of whom confirmed that the design of the headstone would not be acceptable to their burial authorities.”
“A meeting was held with Mr and Mrs Hampson to try and find a compromise, but the family expressed their preference for the original proposal. A further meeting was held on the 6th March, with Mr and Mrs Hampson but unfortunately no compromise was reached.”
“Town council met again on Monday evening (9th March) to re-consider the headstone design. Following further debate and to avoid further distress to the family, the council reversed the original decision. A permission notice was provided to Mr and Mrs Hampson the following morning (10th March).”
“We appreciate that this has been a very difficult time for the Hampson family and hope that now this issue has been resolved, the family can continue to come to terms with their loss.”