Derbyshire widower given go ahead to plant flowers at wife's grave after Council told him to remove them 'within 14 days'

A widower has been given the go ahead to plant flowers around his wife’s grave after a row on the matter broke out between him and Derbyshire Dales District Council.

Michael ‘Jim’ McCann lost his dear wife Anne in September 2016 and tends to her grave at Darley Dale Cemetery regularly, planting colourful blooms and placing a small solar light in the border around her headstone.

Micheal 'Jim' McCaan at the grave of his wife, Anne, in Darley Dale Cemetery. Photo by Rachel Atkins.

Micheal 'Jim' McCaan at the grave of his wife, Anne, in Darley Dale Cemetery. Photo by Rachel Atkins.

But the grandfather was shocked to receive a letter from the District Council requesting the flowers and any other items in front of the headstone be removed ‘within 14 days’.

The Clean and Green team at the Council argued that the items breached cemetery regulations, as they were situated in a ‘lawned’ space and would restrict maintenance staff from mowing the area.

Mr McCann said: “It’s all a jobsworth.

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“The Council claim the flowers hinder the mowing, but they never strim all the way up to the grave anyway. Most of the time the ‘lawned area’ is left in a bit of a state.

“How a couple of pots of commemorative flowers can offend anyone is beyond me.”

A Derbyshire Dales District “We absolutely understand this is an emotionally charged issue and we certainly don’t want to cause unnecessary distress to the McCann family.

“However, the deeds that were copied to family members by their funeral director explicitly state that no kerbed memorials, chippings or plantings are allowed on graves in the lawned area at the cemetery.

“This is to ensure that our maintenance teams can mow the area properly and safely on a regular basis to keep the whole area looking neat and tidy for the benefit of all bereaved families and visitors to the cemetery.

“However, had Mr McCann contacted us direct in response to our initial letter, we would have been happy to explain to him that as his planting is not too far away from the headstone he could keep it so long as he agreed we can accept no liability for any accidental damage caused to the flowers or solar light by one of our mowers.”

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