BEREAVED relatives and friends of loved ones who are buried in Walford churchyard have branded the removal, and dumping in a heap, of grave ornaments and tributes as ‘desecration’.

The shocking discovery of a heap of cherubs, vases, ceramic poems, and other ornaments and tributes, was discovered last Friday in a disused corner of the church graveyard, following a heartfelt letter from a reader to the Review, received last week.

The writer pointed out that new rules had come in, apparently on October 1, with the correspondent condemning the Hereford Diocese new rules banning ornaments on graves - specifically, in their case, artificial flowers.

Notices were put up at at St Micheal and All Angels church in Walford at the end of last month, which said that on their loved-ones’ graves could have:

• No extra vases or ornaments except for those incorporated in the gravestone or memorial stone.

• No artificial flowers.

• No planted shrubs or perennial flowers.

In the original heartfelt letter to The Review, a ‘saddened’ family member detailed the circumstances of the ban on artificial flowers in particular, and the consequences to local families who are affected by it.

The letter read: “It is with sadness I write to draw reader’s attention to the fact that silk floral tributes are no longer allowed in Walford Churchyard near Ross on Wye.

“On October 1 all silk flowers, along with all other tributes, were removed by churchwardens. Apparently it’s a diocese ruling so they can keep the churchyard neat and tidy.

“This is the first time in over 20 years there have been no flowers on my family’s grave.

“I would obviously prefer to place fresh flowers, but rabbits eat them as soon as they are left. I believe tasteful silk floral tributes enhance a churchyard and help make it look neat and tidy. I really dislike seeing dead flowers on graves, and believe they look neither neat nor tidy.”

The writer, who did not wish to be named, signed the letter “Concerned, Lydney”.

The sign on Walford church gate reads: “Please could we draw your attention to the notice at the entrance to the churchyard regarding the churchyard rules and maintenance.

“We would respectfully ask you to remove any items that are not permitted before October 1st. Anything remaining after this will be cleared.

“Our aim is to keep the churchyard neat and tidy for all to enjoy.”