Original article from Kent Live
A reverend has made an impassioned plea to the public after a memorial garden in Whitstable played host to an illegal party during lockdown.
Expressing his disappointment at the treatment of the Garden of Remembrance at All Saints' Church, Rev. Simon Tillotson detailed the state the gardens were left in after a gathering on Saturday night (March 27).
He said beer cans and bottles were left strewn around the site in a public Facebook post. A broken bike was also left in the gardens, he claimed.
Speaking directly to the perpetrators, Rev. Tillotson said: "You are standing on grass under which are the ashes of hundreds of people who have been laid to rest.
"You stamped on the daffodils that had made that garden look so beautiful.
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"You were also clearly breaching COVID-19 guidelines.
"I am assuming you did not realise that that is a very sacred area and I am appealing to you not to use our churchyard again as a place for partying.
"It is very disrespectful to those who have died and to their relatives who still mourn their loss.
"Would you like it if this happened at your relatives graves?"
The gathering took place at a time before lockdown restrictions eased on March 29, making the party not only disrespectful but illegal too.
A member of the public helped to clean up the debris left behind, but unfortunately, Rev. Tillotson explained, the damage was already done.
Speaking to KentLive, he explained this was not the first incident of unwelcome visitors in the memorial garden.
He added: "We've had lots of drug-taking in the churchyard, and drinking, but we've not had a full blown party before."
However, the reverend underlined that his hesitance to contact the police at the time was out of a hope that those attending simply didn't know where they were standing.
"The main reason why I'm going to the press is that they may not have been aware that they were partying on top of lots of people who have been buried there," he explained.
"I don't know who they are, but I want them to be aware that there are ashes here, so they don't keep coming back and doing it, distressing more and more families."
Tillotson has stated he will be getting in touch with Kent Police regarding the incident.
He requested that anyone who sees suspicious activity at the gardens should contact him on 01227 272308.