Heartache after children’s tributes banned from Wosthorne grave

Sisters Danielle Pratt and Tammy Little and their children Marco, Elliot and Suzie-Grace next to their mothers memorial where tributes and cards have been removed by the vicar at St John's Church in Worsthorne.
Sisters Danielle Pratt and Tammy Little and their children Marco, Elliot and Suzie-Grace next to their mothers memorial where tributes and cards have been removed by the vicar at St John's Church in Worsthorne.

TWO sisters have hit out at rules which ban their young children from laying hand-made cards and tributes in the graveyard where their grandma’s ashes are buried.

Danielle Pratt and her sister, Tammy Little, were angry and devastated to discover that cards written by their children had been removed from the graveyard in St John’s Church, Worsthorne, by vicar the Rev. Keith Henshall.

The loving tributes were in memory of the sisters’ mother, Mrs Susan Dean, who was just 57 when she died five years ago. Twenty-eight-year-old Danielle, who is mum to Elliot (6) and two-year-old Suzie-Grace, said: “We go to the graveyard regularly and the children always take something with them they have made for their grandma.

“They make a card or write something and I place the items on a wall under a plaque with my mum’s name on it.

“When the items kept disppearing we assumed they had been stolen so when we found out they had been removed by the vicar we were devastated.

“What possible harm can they be doing? They are discreet tributes that are not in the way or causing an obstruction.’’

Tammy, who has a son, Marco, who is five, said: “We grew up going to this church, my mum was actively involved with the Brownies and Rainbows and both myself and my sister and all our children were christened here so feel these rules are just too strict.”

The sisters, who live in the Brunshaw area, lost their father, Mr Maurice Little, to cancer in October and have decided his final resting place will not be at the Worsthorne church.

Archdeacon John Hawley from the Diocese of Blackburn commented: “I do sympathise with the sisters, but The Diocese of Blackburn, of which St John’s is a part, has very specific regulations about what can and can’t be placed in our churchyards, which people are made aware of.

“These regulations are common to every Diocese in the country.

“So the Vicar and churchwardens have a legal responsibility to preserve the churchyard as a well-ordered place for every family whose loved ones are buried in the churchyard.

“The regulations exist to ensure fairness for everyone and to prevent unrestrained growth of memorials on and around graves. St John’s also made the regulations clear via signs in the churchyard and via information in the parish newsletter and on the Diocese website.

“The items were removed as part of a regular review of the churchyard and St John’s have handled the matter as sensitively as possible.

“None of the tributes have been disposed of and if families concerned get in touch with the church wardens the items will be returned to them as soon as possible.”