Pensioner's burial heartbreak

A DISTRAUGHT pensioner has told of his heartbreak after not being able to bury his partner of 54 years in their hometown.The 80-year-old, who did not wish to be named, has lived in Brightlingsea all his life and wanted to lay his partner to rest in All Saints churchyard.

A DISTRAUGHT pensioner has told of his heartbreak after not being able to bury his partner of 54 years in their hometown.

The 80-year-old, who did not wish to be named, has lived in Brightlingsea all his life and wanted to lay his partner to rest in All Saints churchyard.

But the churchyard has been closed to burials after Rev Richard Saleniusdeclared it was full.

An application for a new cemetery next to All Saints has been turned down by Tendring District Council.


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Now families are having to bury their loved ones at cemeteries or churches in adjoining villages.

The pensioner said he was finding the loss of his partner and the burial situation hard to cope with.

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"She was born and bred in Brightlingsea and lived here all her life," he said.

"I tried to get permission to have her buried here and it was refused. I think it is awful. I cannot begin to describe the sense of loss that I feel."

He added: "They find plenty of land to build houses on even though we have got enough already but you can't give people a decent Christian burial where they want it.

"The whole character of the town has been shattered. It is appalling."

His partner died in January aged 73 and he must now drive to St Osyth cemetery to tend her grave.

"I have to drive over there as there is no other way," he said.

"It is very irritating. We had no children. I am completely alone."

He added: "In my view the current churchyard should be extended. The council should give it permission. Giving people a decent Christian burial seems to be a low priority but I am sure if it was a property developer it would be allowed quickly enough."

Brightlingsea Town Council claims there is still room for burials at the churchyard, although Rev Salenius says that unused ground either has old graves on it or is needed as access for maintenance.

The parish council paid for a special survey to be carried out which apparently found space for at least 30 new graves.

Parish and district councillor Jo Ruffellsaid: "The town council wants burials to continue at the church and for the town council, parochial church council, the MP if necessary, the county council and anyone else with a vested interest in Brightlingsea to get together, sit round the table and try and find a solution to this.

"The room that has been found for these extra burials has bought us valuable time to discuss alternatives and solutions to this problem.

"We want people to continue to be able to be buried in Brightlingsea but the vicar has taken the decision not to bury people in Brightlingsea and that is the impasse we find ourselves in."

Rev Salenius, who has been supported by church authorities in his stance that the churchyard is full, said: "This could have been avoided if the council had given permission for a cemetery.

"The cemetery could have been open half way through last year and this whole thing could have been completely avoided.

"The parish council have ignored the aspects of what it takes to manage a churchyard and have become world experts on something they know nothing about."

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