A parish vicar has been forced to make an open apology after complaints that a group of musicians were allowed to stand on graves in the churchyard while performing at a jubilee event.
Nearly 1,000 people attended the special jubilee service at Holy Trinity Church, Nailsea, on June 4 to mark the Queen’s diamond jubilee.
The programme of events, which centred around the church, Tithe Barn and Ring of Bells pub, featured live music and a service before a beacon was lit at the church.
But a woman who attended the service with her family complained because the band set up on top of the grave of their grandma who died 18 months ago.
The woman, who has not been named, posted her complaint on community news website Nailsea People.
It is understood that the Rev Jolyon Trickey, who led the service, apologised to the woman privately before making a public apology on the same website.
The woman said: “Much as I enjoyed the festivities at Holy Trinity Church and the lighting of the beacon, I was horrified to see the band had set up on top of my beloved Gran’s grave.
“She passed away 18 months ago and we miss her very much.
“My family were visiting from Derby and we thought it would be a nice idea to attend the event and visit her grave and the children wanted to leave flowers as we always do.
“As we turned the corner and saw the band had set up there, I was mortified. Our children were very upset to see a man and his band dancing and singing on her grave, as were we.
“The vicar was apologetic, but it has upset our family greatly.
“I'm still unsure as to how on earth these people got permission to set their amps up and use my Gran’s grave as a stage. We as a family have found it deeply upsetting and very disrespectful.
“It ruined what should have been a special evening and has left us feeling let down by Holy Trinity Church.”
The event was one of a packed programme of celebrations, pulled together by Nailsea Town Council, the Ring of Bells pub and a number of other organisations in the town to celebrate the jubilee.
Mr Trickey said: “On behalf of Holy Trinity Church I am very happy to repeat publicly the apology already offered privately.
“An appropriate open area of grass in the churchyard was chosen as a suitable place from which I was able to lead a short service for a crowd of nearly 1,000 people.
“In the dark afterwards, and in their enthusiasm to entertain, the music group strayed forward onto ashes tablets under the wall.
“We failed to foresee or prevent this and have learnt lessons for the future. We apologise unreservedly and regret any offence caused.
“As a church we are delighted to have been able to partner with the town council and many other to organise a very enjoyable evening and significant community event to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee and lighting of the jubilee beacon.
“We hope that it is this that will be long remembered.”