Mum's upset after church clears baby daughter's grave
- Credit: Sandra Miranda
A woman whose 24-day-old daughter is buried in a Hopton graveyard has questioned the "ethics" of church policy after her baby's resting place was cleared by maintenance volunteers.
Sandra Miranda, 40, lost her baby Skye at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital on September 26, 2019 - barely three weeks after her birth.
Ms Miranda said she was "unable to afford a headstone" and wanted to make the area "look nice in its own way".
She used artificial grass and trinkets to mark the spot where her daughter was buried at St Margaret's Church in Hopton.
But a few days after receiving a notice on the grave asking for their removal, and that Ms Miranda pay £250 for display permission which may or may not be granted, she turned up to find the grass gone and ornaments from across the cemetery piled at the back of the church.
She said: "It's disgraceful. To see so many graves tampered with like that was a horrible thought.
"I go there every week and this crippled me. I'm still not over her death, and I'm not harming anyone by putting the grass there.
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"It might be regulations, but how is that ethical to do what they've done? I can't even get in touch with anyone about it because there's nobody at the Church right now. They don't have a vicar."
The Diocese of Norwich said St Margaret's Church regulations were the same as other cemeteries across the UK. These state that mementoes must be removed by churchwardens unless discretionary permission is granted to let them stay on new graves for up to 13 months.
Nevertheless Reverend Michael Asquith, the rural dean of Lothingland, said he understood that this was an extremely difficult time for families who they would continue to support.
“Churchyards are an important part of a community’s heritage and they serve as a place for reflection for future generations," he said. "The church are custodians of the graveyard and must follow the rules set out in the Churchyard Regulations.
“We understand that this is a sensitive and upsetting issue and would encourage the family to contact the Chancellor for the Diocese of Norwich, should they wish to place anything on the grave that the local church is unable to authorise under its delegated powers.”