'Don't blame me or the church for burial ban' says Littleport vicar

PUBLISHED: 17:17 18 December 2015

Littleport Cemetery. Picture: Steve Williams.

Littleport Cemetery. Picture: Steve Williams.

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A vicar has moved to correct the impression that he and his church is responsible for denying a former Littleport man's dying wish to be buried in the village.

Littleport Cemetery. Picture: Steve Williams.Littleport Cemetery. Picture: Steve Williams.

The Rev Howard Robson, of St George’s Church, says a story in this week’s Ely Standard on Iris Butcher’s plea to have husband Kenneth buried in Littleport incorrectly points the finger of blame at the church.

The Rev Robson points out the church’s own graveyard has been full and closed to burials for over 100 years. Instead the blame lies with Littleport Parish Council, which is responsible for the village cemetery in Parson’s Lane.

“This is the second time in three months there has been a story about someone being denied burial in Littleport’s cemetery and the finger of blame has been incorrectly pointed at me and the church. It is nothing to do with the church. Our cemetery has been closed for over 100 years. It is up to the parish council who are responsible for the parish cemetery to decide who can and cannot be buried there,” said the Rev Robson.

Mrs Butcher, of Downham Market, approached the council to ask for her husband to be buried in Littleport, where the couple lived for over 50 years, before moving to their current home.

Littleport Cemetery. Picture: Steve Williams.Littleport Cemetery. Picture: Steve Williams.

However, back in September Littleport councillors voted nine to two to keep a policy which allows only current parishioners to be buried in the village cemetery.

As a result Mr Butcher’s dying request to be buried in his home village was denied and Mrs Butcher is now pinning her hopes on someone in Littleport offering an unwanted plot for her husband.

“Somebody kindly offered an unwanted plot for another family recently and I’m hoping somebody might do the same for our family - if nobody can help then at least I tried,” said Mrs Butcher.

Land for a new cemetery has been secured recently after a 10 year search but it is at least three or four years away from being in use.

The existing cemetery has 120 plots available and in the past five years an average of 30 per year have been required, which is why the parish council has put the policy of only Littleport residents being able to be buried there.

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