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Widower told no tribute can be left for his wife at Cromer cemetery

PUBLISHED: 16:19 22 February 2014 | UPDATED: 17:29 22 February 2014

Martin Conway pictured at his late wife's memorial tablet in Cromer Cemetery.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Martin Conway pictured at his late wife's memorial tablet in Cromer Cemetery. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2014

When Martin Conway’s wife Pat died aged 81 in January 2012, her ashes were buried in Cromer Cemetery so he could regularly visit.

Martin Conway's late wife Mary, pictured around the time the two were married.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLYMartin Conway's late wife Mary, pictured around the time the two were married. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

The 85-year-old liked to spend time by her grave — often leaving a small pot of flowers.

But almost two years to the day since she died, the former parish councillor has been told not leave a floral tribute, because the tablet on his wife’s grave does not contain a fitted vase.

Mr Conway, who moved to north Norfolk 25 years ago after retiring from his insurance broker job in London, said it is against his human rights.

He said: “They got it wrong — I have never been so upset by anything. How can they produce such a rule as putting those of us whose relatives were cremated at a huge disadvantage?

“When you go to a cemetery to stand by the grave of a loved one, putting a few flowers there is a great mark of respect and love — the regulations stopped that.”

Cromer Town Council has sent letters to families with relatives buried in the cemetery to remind them of rules on what tributes could be left.

The move follows complaints about some items spilling over onto neighbouring plots and causing a health and safety risk.

Under the regulations, flowers and tributes should be limited to the plinth of the headstone, or in the absence of a headstone, to an area no bigger than 2ft 6ins by 1ft.

On cremated plots, tributes are limited to flowers placed in vases inset into the memorial tablet.

Mr Conway, who lives in Thwaite Common, said: “I cannot believe any town councillor could make such a distinction between ashes and a grave.”

Mr Conway and his wife met in 1953 on a blind date. “It was love at first sight,” he said. They married on August 21 1954 and were together for nearly 60 years having children Jane, 55, and Simon, 57, and three grandchildren.

After retirement they decided to move to their holiday destination of north Norfolk. Mr Conway became chairman of Alby with Thwaite parish council.

He said: “This decision was made by such a seemingly small group of well-meaning councillors. The only way it could be resolved as far as I am concerned is changing the rules.”

Janet Warner, deputy clerk at Cromer Town Council, said: “If any families have concerns please phone the town council to discuss matters and if necessary make an appointment to meet to discuss it further.”

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