A WIDOW has been told she cannot erect the headstone of her choice in a graveyard in memory of her husband.

Enid Mort, aged 79, of Bromley Cross, had been wanting to place a shiny black granite stone in the graveyard of St Ann’s Church in Turton, in memory of former architect Bryan, who died in May, aged 80.

But the vicar, Rev Stephen Parsons, rejected the plan. Now Mrs Mort has vowed to get the decision overturned.

Mr Mort worked on a number of major building projects with Bolton’s oldest architectural firm Bradshaw Gass and Hope, including the Royal Bolton Hospital.

Mrs Mort said: “There are generations of my family buried in the cemetery and I was christened, confirmed and married to Bryan in the church 58 years ago.

“When I went along to see Howarth’s the stonemason in Blackburn Road, I was advised there was only certain types of headstone I could choose from because the vicar wouldn’t allow a shiny black granite headstone.”

“The stonemason said the stone I could have was a matt colour and it was just very plain and not what I was looking for.”

Infuriated by the ban, Mrs Mort visited the graveyard last week where she and her daughter Michelle counted 298 of the ‘banned’ headstones, plus a stuffed meerkat toy. She has since complained to the Manchester Diocese about the vicar’s ban.

She explained: “To my mind, it’s completely unbelievable that the vicar can dictate that we can’t have a shiny headstone when there are hundreds of them there already.

“When I tried to appeal his decision he told me I didn’t need to shout at him and said to tell the undertaker to send the application form and he would have look at it.”

Mrs Mort’s daughter Michelle added: "We never got a direct message back from the vicar. Instead he had a member of the church contact us on his behalf to say we couldn’t have the headstone.”

Mrs Mort added: “When we were sorting out the funeral arrangements my son Stephen went up to the vicarage where he explained he wanted to say a few words about his father. The vicar told him he could but not for longer than 10 minutes.

“I also wanted a couple of hymns including Deep Harmony because it a lovely tune with choral music and when I told him I had spoken to the organist, he said I had no right to speak to him behind his back.”

A spokesman for the Manchester Diocese said: “Under the Churchyard Regulations 2016, issued on the direction of the chancellor of the diocese, it is not permitted to install highly polished stones in the churchyard, even if there are existing granite/polished memorials within the same churchyard.

“The Rev Stephen Parsons is observing current guidelines that are in force across the whole Diocese of Manchester.

“If Mrs Mort wishes to have her individual case considered by the Chancellor, she should apply for a Faculty to the consistory court. Applications are considered on a case by case basis.”