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

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

Sabah Meddings sabah.meddings@archant.co.uk
Saturday, February 22, 2014
4:19 PM

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

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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.”

7 comments

  • I see that the adjacent plots have vase holders set in their stones. Wasn't this gentleman advised of this when he ordered the stone?

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    samphirelover

    Saturday, February 22, 2014

  • I do feel for this man, but at the end of the day, the rule is there for a reason this time and he should have been aware of it. Change the stone and no more problems. there is to much clutter and tributes in cemetary's these days. They are a place for quiet reflection, not for wind chimes and teddy bears.

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    DaveG

    Sunday, February 23, 2014

  • Oh for goodness sake - where has common sense gone! A few fresh flowers left on the stone can do no harm and, in fact, help the bereaved enormously. If the grounds are kept properly the groundsman will be undertaking regular maintenance and removing those floral tributes past their best. I would just add that flowers should be left without any cellophane wrapper as it the flowers you want to see not a sea of plastic.

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    Cas

    Tuesday, February 25, 2014

  • It makes me so cross that in the last few decades that there are a few that have nothing better to do than make other peoples lives a misery by stupid rules and regs "the jobs worth brigade"common sense not much of that it seems.

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    criddle

    Sunday, February 23, 2014

  • Surely the simplest remedy is to have the stone modified to take a vase holder. for once this rule does seem to make sense. If they are not fixed, the wind will blow them around the cemetery.

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    BG

    Saturday, February 22, 2014

  • While I sympathise wholeheartedly with this person, as I understand it he is not correct in suggesting that cremated interments are discriminated against as such. If cremations are marked by a stone containing a holder for tributes, then that's fine. The rule exists for a purpose because it ensures tributes laid on flat stones don't get blown around the cemetery. Because it is easy to set a pot or vase into the soil of a grave, the issue doesn't apply to interments in the same way.

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    gilded beams

    Sunday, February 23, 2014

  • More jobsworth petty bureaucracy. Poor man, he doesn't need this rubbish. Let common sense and humanity prevail.

    Report this comment

    la barbe

    Saturday, February 22, 2014

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