THE family of a boxer who died aged 19 is calling for changes to council cemetery rules, after being told to remove decorations from his grave.
Former Mangotsfield School pupil Jude Moore died suddenly in March, following a medical episode, 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 grew up in Hillfields and attended Christ Church infant and junior schools.
His aunt, Sarah Parsons, has started a petition calling for a change in the rules.
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.”
It says the rules are there to help it maintain the area around graves, prepare neighbouring graves and ensure other families have “clear access”.
As the Voice went to print Jude’s family was facing a deadline to take all items that don’t meet the regulations away, or face the council removing them.
Sarah 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 1,800 people in its first three weeks.
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, who has also been told to remove items from his grave.
A council spokesperson 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.
“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.
“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 at tinyurl.com/3sc5n7pn.