Friday, August 23, 2013
A Christian was left offended by the sight of people picnicking on the top of tombstones and camping in Sidmouth Parish Church over FolkWeek.
Robin Farrant said it showed a lack of respect for those buried there, while others reported seeing people use the site as a toilet.
But a member of church staff said she saw no evidence of anyone staying overnight or acting inappropiately, and welcomed the use of the garden.
“As a Christian, I find this offensive, not just because it’s probably consecrated ground, but because it shows little respect for Christian traditional burial values,” said Robin.
“If this had been a mosque and Muslims offended, then there would have been arrests made for public order offences.”
On the online forum Streetlife, one user said the FolkWeek organisers should take control of the situation.
“More responsibility needs to be taken by the organisers to stop the abuse of our town that we have to put up with,” they said.
“It is consecrated ground – the lack of respect shown is truly shameful.”
But church-warden Heather Knight said she was at the church every day and saw no evidence of camping.
“We wouldn’t encourage people picnicking on the tomb stones but they are very welcome to use the gardens,” she added.
“Police came several times because people were concerned so it was all under control.”