THOUSANDS of people have supported a mother’s campaign to erect the headstone of her choice on her daughter’s grave.
Diane Ryan’s 13-year-old daughter, Jeraldine, died of pneumonia in June.
The family had planned a marble headstone for Jeraldine’s plot in Almondbury Cemetery, which she shares with her grandfather Peter Ryan, who died almost 20 years ago.
But Kirklees Council told Diane, 40 and from Almondbury, that only Yorkshire stone memorials were permitted, so as to remain in keeping with the majority of headstones in the cemetery.
And the council made it clear that this rule would have been known when the plot was bought in 1989.
In the last few months the grieving mum has collected 2,500 signatures protesting against the policy.
Diane said: “I left the petition in many of the shops in Almondbury and I collected names in Huddersfield town centre.
“A lot of the people I spoke to said they had read about the controversy in the Examiner and thought it was disgusting.”
Diane presented the petition, which calls for greater flexibility in Kirklees’s headstone policy, to the council’s monthly meeting last week.
The council is now looking into the issue.
But Diane is determined to keep on fighting.
She said: “I don’t know how Kirklees will react to the petition, but I will carry on till the day I die if I have to.
“I’m not compromising. I will keep on going because I should be able to put up what I want for my little daughter.”
Diane said her family would have chosen a different grave if they had been aware of the no marble policy.
She said: “We wanted Jeraldine to be with her grand-dad, but if we had been informed of the rule that the headstone had to be Yorkshire stone then we wouldn’t have had her put in that plot.”
Diane revealed that Kirklees had offered to pay half the price of a Yorkshire stone memorial.
But she said: “It’s not about the money.”
Diane regularly visits her daughter’s grave.
She said: “I go up there all the time with flowers and teddies, but it isn’t the same without a headstone.
“It’s so unfair, it’s soul-destroying.
“It’s such a stupid, stupid rule.”
Jeraldine, a former pupil of Castle Hill School at Newsome, had struggled with neurological progressive disorder, a rare brain condition, for much of her short life.