A Mother Mourning Over His Son’s Death Told To Remove Toys From Grave
A mourning mother was given a letter from the council granting her three weeks to remove toys from the grave of her son. Now calls for an end to the laws of the “heartless” cemetery.
Thirty-five-year – old Natalie Reeves of War, East Sussex, more than two years ago, lost her two-year-old son, James Manning. His grave is currently decorated with his favourite toys, including Peppa Pig, Thomas the Tank Engine, and football. He enjoyed playing throughout his life.
Nevertheless, the care worker recently received a letter from the council asking her to remove all but two toys and setting her a three-week deadline. She has now launched an online rallying support petition. She hopes it would place pressure on the council to reverse their decision.
Natalie said: “To be enforcing these rules, they clearly don’t understand what it’s like to lose your only son.
“This is heartless and senseless to me as a mum who visits her only child every day and makes sure he is well-kept.”
James, from Fight, died at Butlins in Bognor Regis in June 2018 after choking on a slice of sausage.
Natalie received a letter from the council before lockdown asking her to remove as many toys as possible because of the regulations.
She contacted her local MP, Huw Merriman. He did not hear anything until she got another letter from the council last Wednesday.
Natalie said: “They are being petty and too by-the-book. There’s no compassion.
“As long as it’s tidy and within reason there shouldn’t be rules on what you place on your child’s grave. It’s hard enough to lose a child as it is.”
Natalie Hopes Her Petition Will Help Other Families
Natalie paid James extra money to be buried at the War Cemetery because he joined the town’s playgroups. But now she wishes she had chosen another cemetery to stop being hurt and furious. To justify their regulations, the council cited safety concerns.
Natalie said, however, that the council only keeps the grass two meters from the grave. She was leaving her loved ones to cut the grass next to the gravel.
He said that banning the toys will be too annoying for her and hopes that the council would change its decision before the three-week deadline.
The care worker is now hoping that her petition will assist other families at other cemeteries dealing with similar laws.
Glenna Favell, Battle Town Council’s chairman, said: “Battle Town Council is very proud of its beautiful and tranquil cemetery, which is visited not only by the bereaved, but also by people who enjoy the wildflowers, butterflies, the tree walk, etc, and those seeking peace and quiet.”
“The president said councillors agreed that a low hedge would enclose the children’s cemetery to reflect their willingness to” surround the children with loving care.