IN what has become a ‘legal battle as much as a moral one’, Caroline Lacey is taking on the Diocese of Chichester.
Mrs Lacey had asked to exhume the remains of her parents from a cemetery in Battle, nearer to her home in Northchapel so that she might be able to visit their graves.
Continuing her fight, Caroline was horrified to read in the Observer that she had lost her petition, before having been notified by the court.
Having followed the appropriate channels, including paying an initial fee of £240 and gaining the permission of several parties, she has been left shocked by the ruling.
Mark Hill QC, chancellor of the Diocese of Chichester and a judge of the Church of England’s Consistory Court, refused Caroline’s request to exhume her parents Patricia and John Lane, saying: “Exhumation for sentiment or convenience or to hang on to the remains of life is a denial of the Christian intention of burial.
“I can find nothing pointing to a special or exceptional circumstance.”
After ordering Caroline to pay the court’s costs, he added: “Mrs Lacey must therefore bear her grief with fortitude, knowing her parents’ remains are to lie together undisturbed where they were committed to God’s keeping.”
A bell ringer at Northchapel church since 1999, for Caroline, having her family near is important: “We were an incredibly close knit bunch.
“This all began after bell ringing with my friend. She was going to visit her family’s graves, and I thought, ‘how lovely would that be?’
“To have my family closer to me. Battle was never their home.
“I have lived here for 36 years, my children went to school here.
“My anger lies with the Diocese of Chichester.
“I can only conclude this is completely pompous.
“Soldiers are repatriated all the time, this is something that happens often.
“I do not understand the ‘Christianity’ aspect here – my family did not have Christian burials.”
Caroline’s daughter Gemma, 21, has been backing her mother the whole way.
“My mum is deeply upset – she simply asked me to sign a piece of paper to give my permission to move my grandparents, and of course I agreed – we didn’t think it would come to this.”