Will family have to exhume baby to settle photo row?
A DISPUTE between a parish council and a bereaved family over a grave in Churchill has descended into accusations of lying and
A DISPUTE between a parish council and a bereaved family over a grave in Churchill has descended into accusations of lying and a dreadful ultimatum.Billy Winter was stillborn and is buried in the grounds of St John the Baptist, but his family has been denied permission by Churchill Parish Council to place photos on his gravestone. Parish clerk Lindsay Ireland says the rules for the burial ground, owned by the parish council, are the same as those for the churchyard, which does not allow photos.Previously, chairman Pam Millward and the clerk have told councillors that their decision to deny the Winter family two photos, measuring three by four inches, of Billy and the family, was supported by North Somerset Council. However, this claim was this week rejected by the council's crematorium and cemeteries manager, Russell Gadsby, in an email to the family which was read out by Cllr Jeremy Pope at a parish council meeting. Mr Gadsby's email said: "There is absolutely no substance to these claims. I definitely did not say that photographs were not allowed. "It is disappointing to think that at a recent parish council meeting voters may have been swayed upon hearing such blatantly incorrect information. Depending on the outcome of this situation, North Somerset Council may wish to take further action to protect itself from being incorrectly portrayed in the local media."Previously, Cllr Pope said he would ask the parish council to work towards a compromise, but the matter has gone unresolved. He said: "The issue is still alive and kicking within the community."My six-year-old asked me if it had been sorted. It is the conversation of the playground."Cllr Millward said: "The family members know they have another option available to them. They can either accept church rules and regulations or they know what the alternative is."At this point, Billy's mother, Carol Winter, aged 43, who was present at the meeting, interrupted and said: "Have Billy exhumed is what she means."Upon hearing this, Cllr Pope said: "I am aghast that the decision is acceptance or to take the baby somewhere else."Cllr Millward replied: "This council has voted several times on the subject."During this discussion Peter Blannin, Billy's uncle, tried to make his feelings known to the council but was told repeatedly by Cllr Millward to 'be quiet' and he was threatened with the police being called.After the meeting, a tearful Carol Winter said: "It has been a long hard road. "My children cannot bear the thought of having him dug up and taken elsewhere.