A WOMAN has launched a petition after flowers were removed from a grave in the same parish burial ground where a widow is being denied the words she wants on her late husband‘s grave.

Ange Lupo, whose grandparents are buried in Mary Tavy graveyard, said she sympathised hugely with Pearl Duke, who has been told by Mary Tavy Parish Council that her chosen words for her late husband Ray’s gravestone were ‘not in keeping’ with a country cemetery.

‘I would like her to know that she is not alone in this,’ she said.

Ange, 30, a mental health worker who lives in Tavistock, is herself in dispute with the parish council after a floral tribute she placed on her grandparents’ grave in the village was removed by the groundsman.

The parish council’s rules governing the parish burial ground state that only one vase of flowers will be allowed per grave, in a vase attached to the stone. Miss Lupo is calling for that to be relaxed, and people to be able to put whatever tributes they want on each grave.

Her online petition, launched last Thursday, has already attracted 167 signatures.

‘I’m heartbroken because I loved my grandparents so much and I just want the right to respect them and honour their memory in a way that I feel is right, without being dictated about how I do that,’ she said. ‘I’ve spoken to other families who say that they have also been affected.’

She placed a flower-filled vase engraved with You Are My Sunshine on her grandparents’ grave two weeks ago. When she returned to the graveyard last week, though, she found that it had been removed.

‘I chose You are My Sunshine because it is a song they used to sing to me when I was young. I wanted to use something personalised. I put it there two weeks ago, and then I read in the article in the Times about Mrs Duke on Thursday, and thought oh my God, I have got to go down there,’ she said. ‘I went down to the graveyard in Mary Tavy and I found that my flowers had been thrown in the bin, along with others.

‘I think there is a case to review the rules and regulations in the churchyard. I don’t know who this is benefiting and it is hurting an awful lot of people.

‘I think it would be acceptable for people to be allowed to have a flower pot in the headstone, one in the centre of the grave and also a small ornament or a pot plant. I’m not suggesting having a huge six-foot pink angel, nothing offensive. These rules need to be brought up to date and work with what people actually want.’

In the same graveyard, Angela Court, whose husband Stephen died in May this year, has reported that vases of flowers she placed on his gravestone over the summer have been repeatedly removed.

She said she also sympathised with Pearl Duke. ‘I’ve just lost a partner and so has she, and we are still very much in shock. I’m not willing to be mucked around by anybody. We will get to the bottom of this. I’ve lost a total of £50 on flowers. I’ve got two children still grieving their father’s loss and they are very upset about it.’

Parish council clerk Kerri Hingham said: ‘These rules and regulations have been there since 2002 and we have no further comment to make.’

There are paper copies available to sign in TCK’s Barbers and Rafee Clothing in Tavistock.