Parents start campaign to tidy up churchyard where son is buried

Overgrown areas at St Andrew's Church, Dowsby EMN-161013-092208001
Overgrown areas at St Andrew's Church, Dowsby EMN-161013-092208001

The parents of a baby boy who was tragically stillborn 15 years ago have launched a campaign to get the churchyard where he is buried tidied up.

Louise Doughty and Kevin Price are saddened by the overgrown grass, bushes and borders at St Andrew’s Church in Dowsby and are hoping to organise a group of volunteers to carry out a tidy up.

Kevin Price with his son's grave at Dowsby

Kevin Price with his son's grave at Dowsby

Their son, who they named Jordan Hope, was stillborn at 19 weeks. Had he lived, he would have celebrated his 16th birthday in March next year and his parents are determined to have the churchyard sorted before then – with plans for a balloon release to mark the occasion.

Louise and Kevin are no longer together and have both married new partners.

Louise, who lives in Cambridge, said: “We were living in Dowsby at the time we lost our first child and he was buried in the churchyard there.

“We both still visit regularly. The front of the church looks lovely – sadly though the graveyard is now overgrown in many areas and has been like that for several years.

Overgrown areas at St Andrew's Church, Dowsby

Overgrown areas at St Andrew's Church, Dowsby

“We think we owe it to our son to sort it out.

“We have taken mowers and strimmers down there ourselves – and even considered having him exhumed and moved elsewhere – but we decided to try to organise a regular group of volunteers who will keep on top of it.”

Louise and Kevin – who have a daughter together Cody, 13 – have been in touch with vicar Anna Sorensen to discuss their plans.

Kevin, who lives in Stamford, said: “It seems like the back of the church has been forgotten. We have tried to sort some of it out ourselves, but we only have small tools.

“We recently put a small border around our son’s grave, and some gravel, but whatever we do, the graveyard itself is an eyesore.

“We’re also considering setting up a Go Fund Me page to raise some money to pay someone to sort it out for us.”

The Rev Sorensen, priest in charge of the Gilbertine Benefice – which includes churches in Dowsby, Aslackby, Billingborough, Horbling and Pointon with Sempringham – said work was going on behind the scenes to get the area sorted.

She said: “I have met with Kevin and Louise to discuss the issues they have with the churchyard and we are progressing it.

“I don’t want people to be distressed. It hurts me that they are hurt by the situation, but we have limited resources.

“We have a very small congregation and literally every penny of the church’s savings is going towards paying for a temporary roof covering after half the lead was recently stolen from the roof.

“In years gone by, volunteers would tend to the rear of the church, but they are now too old to do so.

“I would be delighted if anyone wanted to form an action group to help clear the area, or to help raise funds so we could pay someone locally to do it.”

Louise has set up a Facebook page to keep people updated on the campaign. Visit https://goo.gl/mpvgM9