Grieving son forced to smash mother's headstone after Pulborough church rules it is 'too lavish' (From The Argus)
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Grieving son forced to smash mother's headstone after Pulborough church rules it is 'too lavish'
11:20am Monday 20th August 2012 in News
A grieving son had to smash his mother’s gravestone to pieces with a sledgehammer after being ordered to remove it by the church.
Mark Doe and his family rushed to install the gravestone – which included three roses in the design – on his mother Shirley Jone’s grave.
But the church decided the design was too lavish and insisted it be removed by 4pm on Friday.
Devastated Mr Doe was forced to take a sledgehammer to his mother’s memorial when the stone could not be removed from the ground at St Mary’s Church in Pulborough.
He said: “It was really upsetting. We had a hearing at the church on Tuesday and the Diocese of Chichester ruled that the headstone had to be removed.
“They said the design was too elaborate. They said the headstone had to be removed completely by Friday.
“The stone had been there since December 21. We rushed to make sure it was there before Christmas, then two weeks later they told us they wanted it removed.
“We’d had talks with the vicar before choosing the headstone. It wasn’t even anything particularly lavish – it came from a catalogue.
“Father Paul originally agreed to it, but then he kept saying he thought it was only going to be one rose and it was three – but that was actually a mistake by the stonemason.
“They wouldn’t even give us enough time to get a replacement before tearing it down. My dad’s devastated and can’t even go up there.
“My family don’t break the law. We had been given until 4 o’clock to remove it but the pins wouldn’t come out so we had to put a sledgehammer to it or break the law.
“I feel they are discriminating against me. I went round the church yard and found other illegal stones.”
Mr Doe said that the original headstone had cost £2,200. The family will now have to have a new stone made – at a similar price.
The Argus contacted the Diocese of Chichester and Father Paul Welch but neither responded to the Argus’ request for a comment.