Church Demands Family Remove 'Sleep Tight Dad' From Headstone

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

The family of a man who died earlier this year says the Lancashire church where he was buried has asked them to remove the headstone because there are “kisses” on it.

Janet Corless, 52, placed a headstone for her partner of 30 years, 49-year-old Mike Howsey, who died of a pulmonary embolism by deep vein thrombosis in January.

The couple has a 19-year-old daughter named Sophie. Together they erected a special tribute to Howsey in May.

On his headstone, which cost more than $3,000, the pair signed their names “Janet x & Sophie x.”

At the bottom it says, “Sleep tight Dad x.”

Officials at St. Mary's Brownedge Church in Bamber Bridge later told them the inscription is “inappropriate” and that the headstone was removed.

“The priest took exception to the little kisses and the phrase ‘sleep tight Dad,’” Corless told the Daily Mail.

“I can't believe it. It's so callous and I'm absolutely heartbroken,” she added.

“I had a meeting with the priest and pleaded with him to allow it but he seemed totally unsympathetic,” she said. “Mike meant the world to us. It's hard enough coping with our loss without having something like this making it worse. Why can't they show some compassion?”

Cocker Memorials, who sold the family the headstone, claims it had prior approval from the church.

“Sometimes we get written confirmation and sometimes it's done with a phone call. This was over the phone,” said company director Michelle Howe. “We wouldn't have gone ahead and made the headstone if we didn't have approval. But it now looks like we will have to make an entirely new one because covering up the letters won't look right.”

“The headstone we chose was beautiful and we were delighted with it when it was put on the grave,” said Corless.

She says the priest told her they could put “Sleep Tight Dad” on another stone, but not the headstone. “So really, it’s just down to those little kisses.”

“I've been round the churchyard and there are other headstones with kisses on,” she said. “It seems ridiculous.”

A cemetery in Bedfordshire, England, announced last month that mourners could no longer leave “trinkets” on graves.

One woman, Melanie Carter, said the laminated note left by the Sandy Town Council on her son’s grave was “disgusting.”

It read: “We are sorry but trinkets, toys, ornaments and lighting are not permitted on graves in this cemetery. Please remove them immediately. If items have not been removed by 1st September, the Council will dispose of them.”

A spokesperson for Sandy Cemetery told BBC News that the items could present a “hazard” to maintenance staff and grass cutters.

Sources: Daily Mail, BBC News

Image credit: Flickr Creative Commons / loonybat / Daily Mail