‘They’re upsetting so many people:’ Peterborough church removes and bags-up keepsakes and ornaments on graves

“It’s absolutely disgusting. They’ve got no compassion – they just don’t care.”

By Adam Barker
Thursday, 4th August 2022, 12:09 am
Helina Harrington at Holy Trinity Church, in Orton Longueville
Helina Harrington at Holy Trinity Church, in Orton Longueville

A Peterborough resident has started a petition to stop an Orton Longueville church from removing and bagging-up keepsakes and ornaments left on the graves of loved ones.

Helina Harrington, 70, from Orton, said that the Holy Trinity Church is “upsetting so many people” and that “something needs be done” to stop them from continuing to remove items left on the graves.

“It’s absolutely disgusting,” she said. “They’ve got no compassion – they really don’t care.

Grave stone at Holy Trinity Church, in Orton Longueville

"They don’t allow things on the graves because it’s their land but it’s my stone, which I paid for. I put everything on the stone of my parents and they had the audacity to bag it all up and leave it in a bag behind the stone.

"They’ve done it three times now and every time I’ve taken it out and put it back on the stone.”

Read More

Read More
Paddleboarder dies after ‘getting into difficulty’ in water at Peterborough Emba...

Helina’s mum and dad passed away in 2009 and 2015 respectively.

Ornament behind the bins at Holy Trinity Church, in Orton Longueville

Twenty residents have signed her petition so far, calling for an end to the removal of items.

Holy Trinity Church’s Reverend Imogen Falvey said the items removed by the church were “not allowed under regulations,” which are rules set out by the Church of England and not the church.

“I don’t want to cause distress to anybody, especially people who are grieving,” she said.

"Any items which should not have been there, which are not in accordance with the rules, were placed in bags for people to come and collect.

"These items shouldn’t be left on graves, which is the message I’m trying to get across.

"The only things the rules permit are wreathes and fresh flowers until they wither.”

Reverend Falvey said that the church gave residents “sufficient notice” before it removed the items and that it usually tidies its grounds a few times each year.

"People think that they own the graves – they don’t,” she added. “They only own the stones.

“We don’t want to cause trouble or upset to anybody but it matters to other people when things are left on graves which shouldn’t be there.”