THE family of Hillfields boxer Jude Moore is calling for changes to the rules governing cemeteries after being told to remove decorations from his grave.
Jude died suddenly earlier this year, aged just 19, and was buried at Kingswood Remembrance Park.
His family placed small decorations, including solar lights and edging, on the grave to help his mum Carla to face visiting it.
But South Gloucestershire Council has now sent a letter telling the family to remove the decorations.
Jude’s aunt, Sarah Parsons, has started a petition calling for a change in the rules so grieving families can create a “comforting space” to help them come to terms with their loss.
Sarah said: “The pain of Jude’s loss was unbearable for all of us, but especially for his mother, my sister.
“For months she couldn’t bear to visit Jude’s grave at Kingswood Remembrance Park; the sight of a mound of earth marking her son’s resting place was too much to bear.
“It wasn’t until my parents placed decorative stones, small solar lights and edging around the grave that she could finally find some peace in visiting him there.
“These simple yet meaningful additions transformed a stark reminder of loss into a comforting space, where we could remember Jude and celebrate his life.
“However, under current regulations at Kingswood Remembrance Park these personal touches are not allowed – an unnecessary restriction that adds to the grief already burdening bereaved families like ours.”
The council’s cemetery regulations state: “No borders, decorative stone or slate, solar lights, wind chimes, balloons, photographs or decorations of any kind are permitted on or around any grave or memorial tree within the boundary of the cemetery. Any such items will be removed.”
Sarah said the family has been told to take all items that don’t meet the regulations away by November 19 – or the council will remove them.
She said: “We believe it is essential for individuals to be able to personalise their loved ones’ gravesites in ways that help them cope with their loss and maintain connections with those who have passed on.
“It is not just about aesthetics; it is about mental health and emotional well-being during one of life’s most challenging times.”
The petition on the change.org website calls on the council to reform the regulations to allow families more freedom to choose how to commemorate their loved ones.
It had been signed by more than 1,600 people by November 6.
The petition has been backed by the mother of Mikey Roynon, a Kingswood teenager who was stabbed to death in Bath in June and is buried at the same cemetery.
She has been told to remove items from his grave by November 12, the day before what would have been his 17th birthday.
Asked to comment on the petition, South Gloucestershire Council said: “We understand that burial places for loved ones can be a very sensitive subject and we are always very mindful of the grief that is felt.
“All cemeteries, whether privately owned, Church owned, or Council owned, have clear regulations about what is allowed to be placed on a grave.
“The reason for these regulations reflect the issues we face when trying to maintain around the graves, when trying to prepare a grave adjacent, to ensure that families visiting adjacent graves can have clear access to tend their grave space and to ensure that the cemeteries reflect council policies and best practice.
“We have received a number of complaints from other grave owners and site neighbours at Kingswood Remembrance Park about the amount of additional items being added to some of the graves, and we are obliged to ensure that we enforce the regulations with all Grave Deed owners.
“For SGC managed cemeteries, we require the Funeral Directors to talk through the Cemetery Regulations associated with our cemeteries with the family, before they decide if they wish to inter their loved one with us.
” The Funeral Director provides the family with a copy of the regulations and before we can agree to allow the purchase of a Right of Burial, we require the family member who is taking responsibility of the grave to sign and date an Acceptance of Regulations form.
“Shortly after the burial has taken place we then send out the official Grave Deed to the Funeral Director, plus a copy of the Cemetery Regulations, to pass on to the family for safe keeping.
“When we find items on the grave that are contravening the Cemetery Regulations, we contact the Grave Deed Owner to request that they remove the additional items and give them four weeks from the date of letter to have this work carried out.
“We recognise the depth of feeling at this difficult time from some members of the community and in light of this we will take the opportunity to review our approach.”
The petition can be found here.