THE decision to ban people from putting artificial flowers on graves at an East Lancashire cemetery seems extremely harsh.

Betty Edwardson said she was devastated when she visited her parents’ grave at Whalley and Wiswell Burial Ground to find all the silk flowers she had laid ripped out and dumped in the bin. She was told the flowers had been removed for health and safety reasons.

Susan Earnshaw, chairman of Whalley and Wiswell Joint Burial Committee, which looks after the cemetery, said the rules ensured the safety of visitors and people working in the burial ground.

Because the area is lawned, with graves only marked by a memorial stone, she said there was a risk that metal and glass objects placed on graves could end up hidden in the grass, and the wire in silk flowers could be dangerous.

The committee has 500 graves to look after and keeping everyone happy is always going to be a hard task. But surely some arrangement can be come to allowing grieving relatives to mark the graves of their loved ones with personal items.

Not everyone has the opportunity to visit graves regularly to place cut flowers on them and artificial ones are a way of remembering those no longer with us.