Brothers told to remove ornaments from mum's grave at Hull's Northern Cemetery
THE sons of a woman who died of cancer have hit out at the city council for ordering them to remove ornaments from their mother's grave.
Nigel and Colin Shaw say items placed on the plot, in tribute to their mother Violet, harm no one and they insist it is always kept immaculate.
But staff at Northern Cemetery, off Chanterlands Avenue in west Hull, say the items breach their rules and regulations.
Nigel and Colin have vowed not to remove the ornaments and the brothers say they will call the police if any are taken away.
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"As a family, we are very upset about it all," said Nigel, 52. "We can't comprehend why it's a problem if a family feel they want to put a few ornaments out on a grave.
"In our view, our mother's grave is kept very clean and tidy.
"Having a few ornaments is our little way of paying respects to our mother – she was a lovely woman who loved her family.
"We love our mum and just because she's in that grave, it doesn't mean we won't ever stop showing her respect, as we tried explaining to cemetery staff."
Nigel said he spotted more signs around the cemetery during his visit on Friday afternoon.
"Our notice was tied to the 1ft ornamental fence that surrounds our mother's grave," he said.
"It asked us to see a member of staff about the ornaments, which I did.
"A member of staff told us a complaint had been made about the amount of items being placed on graves and they were having to act on it."
But Nigel, of west Hull, believes the council should have properly consulted with families.
"There was no consultation," he said. "The first we knew of all this was the appearance of signs placed on graves.
"There is no way we are removing items from our mother's grave and if the council wants to try removing them, we'll be calling the police."
Colin, 64, said his mother, who died in February 2011, aged 85, liked to collect ornaments, so it was fitting some were placed on her grave in tribute to her.
He said: "It's not harming anyone, so where is the problem?
"Our mam liked cats and fairies – that kind of thing. These ornaments are only cheap, but she liked them.
"It's all on our plot. We are not invading anyone else's plot."
In response to the brothers' complaints, Hull City Council said all families have varying levels of what is acceptable.
It says what is respectful to one family may be seen as distasteful, and in some cases, offensive by others and by having rules and regulations, it strives to find a balance, however on some occasions not everyone can be pleased.
In a statement, Andy Brown, the local authority's customer services manager, said: "Although we can understand why this request may be upsetting, we adhere to the policy regarding memorabilia on individual graves in our cemeteries, to ensure the facilities are kept in a good condition that visitors quite rightly expect.
"The request is in accordance with the agreement signed by the deed owners, which is needed to ensure the quality of the appearance as well as being able to carry out maintenance and meet health and safety requirements.
"Deed owners are made aware of these requirements when they obtain a cemetery deed and as with this case the deed owners are also sent a reminder."