Council refuse to let city family scatter ashes in cemetery

John Bolingbroke showing where the bird bath would sit, in memory of his mum Jeannine.

John Bolingbroke showing where the bird bath would sit, in memory of his mum Jeannine, at their family plot in Rosary Cemetery that the council are saying would be a health and safety issue - Credit: Danielle Booden

An historic Norwich family has been left disgusted after being unable to fulfil their relative's final wishes. 

John Bolingbroke, 59, said Norwich City Council refuse to let him scatter the ashes of his late mother among her ancestors at his family plot in Rosary Cemetery in Thorpe Hamlet.

The council has also refused his request to erect a bird bath in memory of his mum Jeannine.

The city council said it does not believe the scattering of ashes and bird bath would be in-keeping with the aims of keeping the cemetery respectful for the bereaved.

John Bolingbroke at Rosary Cemetry where the council won't let the family put a bird bath for his la

John Bolingbroke at Rosary Cemetry where the council won't let the family put a bird bath for his late mother - Credit: Danielle Booden

But Mr Bolingbroke - who lives in Bergh Apton in south Norfolk - has been upset by the lack of communication from the council on this policy.

He said: "This is a huge deal for a bereaved family. Our solicitors have been respectful and helpful to the family which makes it so weird that the city council has been the complete opposite.

"They have not been sensitive to us as a family. They have been unhelpful and abrupt."

John Bolingbroke at Rosary Cemetry where the council won't let the family put a bird bath for his la

John Bolingbroke at Rosary Cemetry where the council won't let the family put a bird bath for his late mother - Credit: Danielle Booden

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Mr Bolingbroke's mum died peacefully in Plymouth's hospital at the age of 86 last month.

As a lover of nature, she was particularly fond of a birdbath she had in her Plymouth garden for around 50 years. 

The birdbath belonging to Jeannine Bolingbroke which the family wanted to be installed in the Rosary Cemetery family plot

The birdbath belonging to Jeannine Bolingbroke which the family wanted to be installed in the Rosary Cemetery family plot - Credit: Contributed

She requested the bird bath - which is two ft high with a diameter of 16 inches - to be moved to the city cemetery.

But this has been refused.

John Bolingbroke at Rosary Cemetry where the council won't let the family put a bird bath for his la

John Bolingbroke at Rosary Cemetry where the council won't let the family put a bird bath for his late mother - Credit: Danielle Booden

The Bolingbroke family includes John's great-great grandfather Horatio, the former mayor of Norwich, who lived at the Masonic Hall in St Giles Street and has a 12ft monument in the cemetery.

The family also presented Strangers Hall to the city after Leonard Bolingbroke, a solicitor, bought the building to save it from demolition in 1899.

One of the Bolingbroke plots at Rosary Cemetry in Norwich. Picture: Danielle Booden

One of the Bolingbroke plots at Rosary Cemetry in Norwich - Credit: Danielle Booden

A spokeswoman for Norwich City Council said: "The cemeteries team spoke to Mr Bolingbroke about his requests last week and provided a full response as to why these were unable to be granted.

John Bolingbroke showing where the bird bath would sit, in memory of his mum Jeannine, at their fami

John Bolingbroke showing where the bird bath would sit, in memory of his mum Jeannine, at their family plot in Rosary Cemetery - Credit: Danielle Booden

“We aim to provide an environment in our cemeteries that is respectful and sensitive to the needs of the bereaved and do not believe that the scattering of ashes or the installation of a bird bath would be in-keeping with these aims.”

The space on one of the Bolingbroke plots at Rosary Cemetry in Norwich where the family want to put

The space on one of the Bolingbroke plots at Rosary Cemetry in Norwich where the family want to put a bird bath in memory of Jeannine - Credit: Danielle Booden