A MUM has received a letter asking her to remove mementos from her baby’s grave, on the first anniversary of her daughter’s death.
Kimberley Parkinson, 20, of Spring Street, Liversedge, said she was unaware of Kirklees Council bereavement services’ policy on the number of trinkets allowed on public graves.
Miss Parkinson’s baby Maddison was stillborn four weeks prematurely and was buried in a plot shared with other infants, in Dewsbury Cemetery.
Last week would have been her first birthday and Miss Parkinson, her fiancé Simon Hicks and their families, placed extra items – including balloons, a card, flowers and wreaths – at the grave.
Within days, she received a letter from the council warning her that the items had to be removed within four weeks, otherwise they would be disposed of by council staff.
“I was only going to leave the items on the grave for a few days, up to a week maximum,” she said.
“I knew the other families had anniversaries coming up as well and I really didn’t want to upset them at all.
“For the past year the families have worked around one another and there’s always been enough room for everyone to put whatever they want on the graves. I never had any problems and the council never contacted me.”
Miss Parkinson, who has a six-week-old son Deacon, said she was angry with the way the council handled the matter and she would have spoken to the other families first if she had been able to contact them.
She added: “After I got the letter, I called the council and explained how I felt but they didn’t seem to understand at all. It was the fact they wrote the letter that upset me. They could have rung and talked to me about it.”
Kirklees Council’s policy for shared graves means bereaved families are provided with a leaflet telling them what is allowed at the graveside.
A spokeswoman said: “We are sorry that Miss Parkinson has become upset over this issue, but this is not a private grave but a public one which contains a total of six burials.
“The number and type of memorial items are limited on public graves to take into account that other babies are interred there.
“We acknowledge that this is a very sensitive issue but so many mementos had been placed on this grave that the headstone was entirely obscured.
“With the anniversary of the death of three other of the babies due, we felt we had no choice but to write to ask that the items be removed.
“We also offered to meet the family concerned to talk through the issue.”