A vicar is backing a move to stop families from leaving plastic ornaments and other tributes at graves in a Farnsfield churchyard so that the site can become a natural haven for wildlife.
Reverend Canon Peter Jones, of St Michael and All Angels Church, is keen to create a “living churchyard” by reinforcing regulations that forbid grave tributes which may damage the environment and are not in keeping with the character of the church.
The churchyard is to undergo a clearout on July 1, with any non-permitted items are to be “cleared away” and stored at the rear of the clocktower for families to collect.
Rev Jones said: “We want the churchyard to not only be a place of contemplation where the dead are commemorated, but also of education and conservation, where wildlife can thrive for the community to enjoy.
“We’ve been letting wildflowers and grass grow in certain areas to attract wildlife such as butterflies, and a local beekeeper has even installed two hives here.
“Unfortunately, some tributes left at the memorials do not coincide with this and do not adhere to regulations already enforced by the Chancellor of the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham.
“Things like angels and gnomes made of plastic and other unauthorised materials, which would be fine to leave in a civil cemetery but not a churchyard. Some families have also been building shrines on the graves.”
“Some people keep to these rules and others don’t, but they change the character of our “natural” churchyard.”
Rev Jones says his decision to reinforce the regulations has had a “positive reaction”.
Signage has been erected at the site advising those caring for grave plots on what tributes are allowed.
More information on memorial and tribute regulations can be found by visiting: http://southwell.anglican.org/church-life.