Woman ‘deeply devastated’ after burial request in village churchyard is refused

A woman said she is “deeply devastated” after her application to be buried next to her late father was refused.

Alison Allen from Wimblington petitioned to the consistory court of the Ely diocese earlier this year after her application to be buried alongside her father, Rob Jones, was unanimously rejected by the parochial church council (PCC) in Doddington.

However, His Hon. Judge Anthony Leonard QC, chancellor of the Ely diocese, refused Mrs Allen’s request in support of the PCC’s policy of providing a grave space as and when a death occurred.

In a statement, Judge Leonard QC said: “The PCC cannot stop the process of reserving a plot which is entirely in the discretion of the chancellor.

“I can find no grounds on which to allow a grave space reservation which goes against the PCC’s policy.

“If I was to favour the petitioner, I would have to do so to the detriment of other parishioners who have accepted the PCC’s policy as being both sensible and fair to all.”

Forty spaces available for burial were identified in the cemetery on Church Lane by Reverend Andrew Smith, Rural Dean, which would “meet the needs of the parish for a further 10 years”.

Mrs Allen, whose grandparents are buried in the churchyard and said her uncle and auntie have reserved plots, has also inherited agricultural land in Doddington and pointed towards a new village cemetery on Benwick Road.

Most Read

However, Judge Leonard QC stated: “The availability of spaces on land elsewhere in the village, and assuming that the land, or part of it, will be consecrated in the near future, is not a reason for allowing a petition to reserve a grave space in the consecrated ground surrounding the church of St Mary’s.”

Eileen Clapham, church warden of St Mary’s the Virgin Church in Doddington, was one of those to object Mrs Allen’s petition and said there are only around 14 available spaces in the churchyard.

She said: “We have nothing against Mrs Allen, but the fact we are so low on grave spaces, if the application had gone through, we would have had to agree spaces for everyone else.”

Judge Leonard QC said that Mrs Allen does not want to “cause issues within the village because she lives close by” and believes there was no option to have her cremated remains buried with her father.

In response, Judge Leonard QC said Mrs Allen can apply for ashes to be buried in her father’s grave or consideration could be given to a memorial stone in her memory with remains elsewhere.

Mr Jones died in August last year, aged 76; an obituary notice described him as the “dearly loved husband of Shirley, much loved father of Clare and Alison and devoted grandpa of Mollie, Elena, Freddie and William”.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter