Church bans gnomes in North Somerset graveyards

GARDEN gnomes have been banned from cemeteries in North Somerset – because church leaders say they do not exist.

Plastic flowers, gnomes and other decorations such as teddy bears, have been deemed inappropriate by the Diocese of Bath and Wells.

The church banned the rosyfaced garden accessories from Wrington and Congresbury cemeteries and will remove any found.

The rule is part of new guidelines issued by the diocese, which regulates churchyards throughout Somerset.

Hollie Richards, 24, has lived in Congresbury her whole life and has two grandparents, an uncle and an aunt buried in St Andrew’s Churchyard. She thinks people should be able to lay down whatever tributes at graves they want.

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“People should be free to put what they want around the gravestones as it is down to personal preference,” she said.

“It helps the grieving process as you can surround the grave of the person you love with possessions that were important to them.

“I am lucky I live so near as I can take fresh flowers, but what about the people who live far away?

“They will have to leave knowing the flowers will deteriorate and will look unsightly after a few days.”

The Chancellor of the Diocese, Worshipful Timothy Briden, produced the list of regulations, which also bans items such as fake flowers, teddy bears and plastic containers.

“There is no such thing as a real gnome so why should we have such unnatural creatures in churchyards?” said a diocese spokesman.

“Things such as gnomes and plastic flowers are not permitted because they are aesthetically unattractive and they make it harder to maintain the grounds.

“The historic churchyards are part of Somerset and we want to keep them tidy and safe.

“If people want their loved ones to be buried in one of our churchyards then they have to stick to the rules which are clearly displayed at all churchyards.”

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