Widow banned from putting flowers on her husband’s grave after family rift

Brenda Burrell  has been banned from placing flowers onto her husband's grave by her daughter, and won't be allowed to be buried with him.
Brenda Burrell has been banned from placing flowers onto her husband's grave by her daughter, and won't be allowed to be buried with him.

A widow has been banned from laying flowers at the grave of her husband after 51 years together.

John Burrell, who ran off to Scotland with his bride Brenda in 1960, died in 2012 at the age of 70 and is buried in Harton Cemetery, South Shields.

Brenda and John Burrell celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.

Brenda and John Burrell celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.

But Mrs Burrell – now 72 – says she has been banned from laying flowers on his grave by her daughter, Yvonne Wilkinson, because of a family rift.

The pensioner, from Gainsborough Avenue, Whiteleas, South Shields, who was too upset to talk about the issue, is being supported by her daughter-in-law Nicola Burrell and son Mark.

Nicola said: “It was the anniversary of John’s death a few days ago and Brenda couldn’t put any flowers on the grave. That really hurt her.

“Brenda is really sad at everything which has gone on.

Brenda is really sad at everything which has gone on. They were married for more than 50 years and now she can’t even put flowers on his grave.

Nicola Burrell, daughter-in-law

“They were married for more than 50 years and now she can’t even put flowers on his grave.

She added: “We have been accused of taking flowers off the grave and been told if we place anything on it, we will be trespassing.”

Mrs Wilkinson says she is within her rights to stop anything being placed on the grave, as she holds the title deeds.

She says she took the decision after a “large lantern” which was on her father’s final resting place had failed to be removed when she had asked.

She claims it was blocking the writing on the headstone.

Mrs Wilkinson said: “The lantern was blocking the writing on the headstone, so I left a letter asking them to remove it,

“It wasn’t taken away, so my husband returned it to the family. Following text messages and phone calls, I decided to stop them from putting flowers or anything else on the grave, which I am legally allowed to do.

“I can’t stop them from visiting the grave.”

Mrs Wilkinson says her name was put on the title deeds in 2007 ahead of Mr Burrell’s death.

The grave is currently the final resting place of her father, grandmother Harriet and aunt Maureen.

She said: “I don’t know why but, for some reason, my dad put the deeds in my name before he died. I’ve had them since 2007.

“This has made my life torture.”