Couple head to Europe to fight headstone banBy Hugh Fort
August 20, 2012
A couple are pressing ahead with a European court fight as their eight-year battle with the Church of England to keep an elaborate headstone on their son’s grave continues.
Tina and Jimmy Hedges, from Humber Way in Sandhurst, have been embroiled in a row with the Diocese of Oxford over the headstone at St Michael’s Church in Lower Church Road.
The couple designed the spectacular memorial for their son, also called Jimmy, who died of leukaemia aged seven in 2004.
The headstone breaks the church’s regulations as it is too big, but the couple have refused to remove it and say it is their right to remember their son in a way they choose.
The couple, who are devout Christians, say they have been told by the church that unless the headstone is removed, their own remains will not be buried alongside their son.
Jimmy said: “This torture has gone on and on. It’s more than eight years now. I’ve done some research around the area – there are some massive headstones about. The same people are allowing other headstones of huge sizes to be put down.
“There’s one in Binfield that looks like a bed. I can’t understand how that can be allowed and ours can’t.
“We’re getting all the evidence ready to take this to the European Court of Human Rights.”
The European case is likely to take a number of years to come around which means the headstone will stay where it is for now.
Jimmy added: “It’s torture for us as Christians to not know whether we can be laid to rest alongside our boy.
“This has gone on for so long – it just doesn’t seem very Christian to us to force people to remove a memorial to their child.”
The Diocese decided to enforce the decision to make the Hedges remove the headstone last summer.
A spokeswoman declined to comment any further due to the possibility of the court case.