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Mystery after church memorial plaques to loved ones removed without warning

PUBLISHED: 05:30 17 February 2019 | UPDATED: 11:18 17 February 2019

The plaques for those whoase ashes are buried at St Mary the Virgin Church in Lawford, Essex Picture: ARCHANT

The plaques for those whoase ashes are buried at St Mary the Virgin Church in Lawford, Essex Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

Mystery remains over the removal of memorial plaques from a church flower bed after a man discovered his mother's tribute missing.

The church in Lawford has clearly signed rules about memorials set by the Diocese of Chelmsford. Rev. Simon Hero said that there was and is no requirement for the memorials to be moved Picture: ARCHANTThe church in Lawford has clearly signed rules about memorials set by the Diocese of Chelmsford. Rev. Simon Hero said that there was and is no requirement for the memorials to be moved Picture: ARCHANT

St Mary the Virgin Church, in Lawford, on the Suffolk/Essex border, has a flowerbed below which loved one’s ashes can be buried and plaques placed above them in their memory.

However, Dave Marks discovered that the plaque left for his mother, which is believed had been in place for the last 19 years, was not there when his father went to place flowers for her - and no one had informed the family this would change.

Mr Marks, 43, from Brantham, initially took to social media to voice his upset about the situation before Reverend Simon Heron, from the church, spoke to him to resolve the issue.

Rev Heron understood that seeing a loved ones memorial moved or removed without prior knowledge would be very distressing but is currently at a loss as to the reason the plaques were moved in the first place.

St Mary the Virgin Church in Lawford, Essex Picture: ARCHANTSt Mary the Virgin Church in Lawford, Essex Picture: ARCHANT

“Churchyards are inherently a very emotive place and I can appreciate it would have been very distressing to see the plaque of their wife and mother missing.

“I can say that I do not know why they were moved or who Mr Marks’ father spoke to when he visited the grounds, but it’s not my place to stop anyone placing markers for their relatives.”

Mr Marks thanked Rev Heron for being so helpful and agreeing to re-instate his mother’s plaque to its rightful place.

He reported that his father was shown the plaque, along with others that were removed from the flowerbed, being stored in a shed.

The memorial flower bed with plaques restored to the wall at St Mary the Virgin Church in Lawford, Essex Picture: ARCHANTThe memorial flower bed with plaques restored to the wall at St Mary the Virgin Church in Lawford, Essex Picture: ARCHANT

It was apparently the plan that the plaques would be moved to another spot on the other side of the churchyard, but the ashes would remain where they were.

Mr Marks said: “We had not visited the church for the last couple of years, so it could have been changed any time between then and now - we just don’t know.

“I couldn’t stand the idea my mum’s ashes were buried in one place and that plaque was on the other side of the yard, it didn’t need to move.”

Lawford’s church is an open church with an open churchyard, with visitor access every day.

The plaques were moved by an unkown person in previous years without informing the loved ones of those whose ashes are buried there. Rev. Simon Heron had them returned to their place Picture: ARCHANTThe plaques were moved by an unkown person in previous years without informing the loved ones of those whose ashes are buried there. Rev. Simon Heron had them returned to their place Picture: ARCHANT

The church is continuing to investigate when and why the plaques were removed.

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