Rules are there for a reason

PUBLISHED: 10:20 05 March 2008 | UPDATED: 21:35 15 June 2010

A HONITON town councillor has responded to letters in the Midweek Herald criticising his comments as he tries to uphold churchyard regulations.

A HONITON town councillor has responded to letters in the Midweek Herald criticising his comments as he tries to uphold churchyard regulations.

Councillor Richard Gaughan, a member of the Honiton Churchyard Management Committee, has recently expressed concern over items being left by gravestones in St Michael's churchyard.

He said: "My personal view is that a few moments of reflection in celebration and memory of the life of the loved one and perhaps a prayer by the graveside would be more appropriate, and indeed more tasteful and respectful, than the placing of miscellaneous objects on the grave."

In particular, Councillor Gaughan has referred to a letter from Mrs J Manley, of Elm Terrace, that appeared in the Midweek Herald on Wednesday, February 20, and said: "He does not take into consideration the views of the people who visit St Michael's churchyard on a daily or weekly basis and that of people he should be representing.

"The tributes that have been placed on the graves of loved ones are not, and never have been disrespectful or intended to intrude on the simple peace and tranquillity of the graveyard for mourners."

In a statement to this newspaper, Councillor Gaughan said: "I am sorry if my reported remarks, in full council, have offended her, but I have to remind her that the Churchyard Regulations 1992 were not written by me, but by far wiser people, ie the executives of the Diocese of Exeter.

"My role as a member of the churchyard management committee is to help ensure that such regulations are observed for the benefit of all who visit our churchyard.

"I also visit the graveyard on a regular basis as a mourner and of course I recognise the wish to leave a memento on the grave.

"But I also agree with the necessity of the regulations mentioned above as I believe they are written with the safety of the public in mind."

Councillor Gaughan went on to ask anyone writing to him concerning council issues to do so by care of the town council's offices in New Street and not to his home address.

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