Families’ plea to not drive over graves in new churchyard car park
Families of two men buried at a church in Staffordshire have asked drivers not to drive over their graves.
The request comes after the grassy bank around the graves at St Michael’s Church in Lichfield was converted into a car park to accommodate more visitors to the church.
The graves of John Yates and Joseph Bullock, who both died in 1940, were kept where they were as the work on the car park was done.
Reflective wooden posts have been marked out around the 80-year-old memorials to prevent drivers parking their cars on the graves.
However, Mr Yates’s relatives have placed a notice on his grave asking drivers to be respectful and not drive or walk on it.
The note says: “Please respect my grandfather’s grave – do not drive or walk on it – as you can see, it has been damaged by cars in the past.
“Thank you so much.”
The decision to surround the graves with a car park has been defended by the church.
Rector of St Michael’s Rev Simon Baker said: “This area of the churchyard has been used for parking for services and other events at the church for some time.
“The parking was on the grass and there was a significant danger of damage to tree roots and to the one remaining grave in that area.
“The present hard surface is designed to protect the trees and the remaining grave has been carefully highlighted to avoid damage and ensure that it continues to be respected.
“The project was undertaken after due process and consultation and a full planning application was made through the local authority and no objections were received.
“In addition, formal permission through the Church of England’s own planning process was received after independent advice.
“Again, no objections were received as part of that process.
“The work itself was undertaken with the local authority tree adviser present and also a designated archaeologist.”