Gravestone wrong size for Ossett cemetery

Irvin Barlow has paid �700 for a plot at Manor Road cemetery, and more than �2,000 for a headstone for  his wife Sandra, who died last November. But he has been told the headstone is slightly too tall and the wrong colour. The vicar has said he cannot allow it as it is not in line with regulations.Pictured at Sandra's garve are his daughter Rebecca and son Brett.

Irvin Barlow has paid �700 for a plot at Manor Road cemetery, and more than �2,000 for a headstone for his wife Sandra, who died last November. But he has been told the headstone is slightly too tall and the wrong colour. The vicar has said he cannot allow it as it is not in line with regulations.Pictured at Sandra's garve are his daughter Rebecca and son Brett.

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A GRIEVING family have been told they cannot have the headstone they want because it is the wrong colour and size.

Irvin Barlow was told the brick red headstone he wanted to commemorate his wife Sandra violates church regulations.

Mrs Barlow, as known as the Coal Race Queen, was a popular community figure known for competing in Gawthorpe’s annual race.

She died last November after an illness and was buried at the Manor Road cemetery in Ossett.

Her sons and daughters had helped with the design of the stone, which they said was quite large and protruded at the top to protect the inscriptions from rain damage.

Mr Barlow, of Swithenbank Avenue, Gawthorpe, said: “We are all very upset to have received a letter saying we can’t have this headstone.

“The kids really wanted it as well.

“We bought that plot for £700 and now we’re being told we can’t have the stone because of the colour and size.

“It is unbelievable what people can do to you.”

The cemetery is maintained by Christ Church South Ossett, on Vicar Lane.

The Rev David Robertson, who was appointed as vicar in May, said regulations were set by the Wakefield Diocese and were similar across the country.

He said: “I wrote to Mr Barlow saying I was pleased that they are going ahead with a headstone, but that I was surprised by the content of their application.”

Martin Sheppard, of Wakefield Diocese, said: “A churchyard is a shared space and is used by many different people. Given that it is a place with a very particular character, regulations exist to make sure that that character is maintained.”

Funeral director Neil Brooke, of George Brooke Ltd, is providing the headstone for the Barlows and said negotiations with the church were ongoing.