Danger posed by flowerpot

PUBLISHED: 02:01 03 September 2008 | UPDATED: 22:16 15 June 2010

My mother, an 85-year-old widow, was recently reduced to tears after receiving a letter from the parish church of St Paul, Honiton. My mother was upset to see my late father's name simply scribbled in at the top of a photocopied standard letter under th

My mother, an 85-year-old widow, was recently reduced to tears after receiving a letter from the parish church of St Paul, Honiton. My mother was upset to see my late father's name simply scribbled in at the top of a photocopied standard letter under the heading "The grave of". Why was my mother receiving such a letter from the church? Apparently, and I quote, "memorials contrary to St Michael's Churchyard Regulations have appeared on or around this grave". The "memorial" in question is a floral tribute placed on my father's grave by my sister. The letter goes on to say that such items will be "removed to St Michael's church porch" and if not collected within two weeks "will be removed for disposal".Why is the church removing and disposing of floral tributes placed on the graves of the deceased by their loved ones you may ask? Apparently because, and I now quote from the churchyard regulations, "pottery containers are not allowed" for "health and safety reasons". What utter poppycock! Health and safety is fast becoming the cloak of authoritarianism in this country. Exactly how many accidents involving pottery containers have occurred in St Michael's Churchyard in the past 10 years? Can anyone tell me? None I strongly suspect! Perhaps I should write to the BBC - maybe their gardening experts, Monty Don and Alan Titchmarsh, could give me their opinions on the health and safety hazards posed by pottery containers. The reason that some people prefer to place plants in containers on graves is simply that they stay in flower much longer. This is particularly important for the elderly as they often cannot attend the churchyard as frequently as they may wish. I have been a keen gardener myself for many years and I have never found that pottery containers, or flowerpots as I prefer to call them, pose any particular danger. In fact, I would go as far as to say I handle flowerpots on a regular basis without gloves, eye protection or any other form of safety equipment.Thus, it would appear that, on the rather dubious supposition that the humble flowerpot poses some sort of safety hazard, the church has seen fit to print off a set of standard letters. I really do feel that this shows an extreme lack of sensitivity. It is high time that the church learned to show some more respect for the elderly members of the local community.Peter HerridgeBristol


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