Cheshire parish council stands by grave stone rules despite worldwide furore
A parish council is refusing to back down over its order that a widow remove a Sudoku puzzle inscription from the gravestone of her beloved late husband.
Angela Robinson, 67, from Farndon, has been told to take off the engravings of the puzzle and a mathematical equation from the grave of her husband Allan, a retired mathematician, who died in May 2012.
Farndon Parish Council said the grave breached the standards for its burial ground by St Chad's church after the stone mason failed to submit the design for approval.
But the decision has proved so controversial that it has made worldwide news including on the BBC and the Daily Mail but also Radio New Zealand and the Bangalore Mirror in India.
Parish councillor Sue Rowlandson said: “The stone mason has held her hands up and accepted she made a mistake and has offered to rectify the matter free of charge.”
Cllr Rowlandson, the ex-chairman, accepted there were other grave stones featuring a hand of cards, a whale and a cat’s head.
“Most of this happened before we tightened up the rules,” she explained. “For years we should have been following the guidelines that were laid down years ago.
“The guidelines are used by churches for church burial grounds and include what detail should be included and health and safety issues to make sure that when the stones are erected they stay standing up and don’t fall on anybody and the size is another thing.”
Cllr Rowlandson said the matter ‘may well come back’ as a council agenda item and Mrs Robinson has told The Chronicle she will attend if the issue is discussed.
Cllr Rowlandson, former leader of the Conservative opposition at the now defunct Chester City Council, added: “I have not said myself whether it is inappropriate or appropriate. I would not dream of being so presumptuous.”
Mrs Robinson, who used to work for the DIAL House disability charity in Chester, has received support from many villagers, some of whom have emailed the parish council to express their views.
Dorinda Boag, from West Kirby, has set up an online petition calling for the council to reverse its decision.