They say the best way to honour the dead is to live life to its fullest. This saying, however, has its limits. You can’t honour the dead by, say, digging up their corpse and using it as a Halloween prop. No matter how much you want to celebrate life it’s still important to have respect for the dead, and to have a little bit of reverence for the customs that surround death.
For one group of revellers this was an idea they just couldn’t understand, perhaps because it required them to think about their actions and how they affect others. When presented with a cemetery and a raised gravestone they saw a fantastic place to have a barbecue. So they did just that. They lit up the coals, cooked some burgers and hotdogs, squirted ketchup and mustard, and did the usual barbecue activities.
All while serving their food off a raised gravestone.
Something one passerby, Peter Howard, was absolutely shocked to discover while out on a walk in Leeds.
“A lovely afternoon spent at the Otley food and drink festival, followed by a meander home through the Parish Church grounds.
“Imagine the surprise to find three adults with about seven children enjoying a barbecue. The cooking was being done on the raised tomb stone.
“My wife remonstrated with the men. The 'Chef' patronisingly said 'Thank you for you input, I've taken note.'
“So I took a photograph! Over trots the guy in blue and demands I delete the photographs.
“In any case I was taking photos of him barbecuing on a tomb in sacred ground.”
People have responded with anger online at the behaviour of those involved, although their identities currently remain unknown. Many have suggested that they should be made to clean up the mess they left behind, while others think that the police should get involved. While it’s not clear if this is a crime, or where exactly their behaviour falls in terms of legality, police have been called during similar incidents in the past.
In 2017 several homeless people had a barbecue on a 200-year-old gravestone, so police stepped up their patrols of the area and began to issue dispersal notices to anyone eating in the cemetery. It would be a shame if police had to start making regular patrols of cemeteries to catch people disrespecting the graves within because ideally police resources wouldn’t have to be wasted on idiots who think it’s okay to act without any consideration of those around them.