Devastated parents claim council workers have hit them with a 'heartless' ultimatum to remove a DIY wooden cot memorial from their baby daughter's grave – or they will tear it down.
Stacy and Jason Tinmurth were horrified to receive the council letter demanding they remove the wooden tribute to their daughter Maisy – who was tragically born stillborn at 41 weeks - within seven days or the council would remove it for them.
Mum-of-two Stacy, who regularly decorates Maisy's grave with birthday and Christmas decorations, designed the life-sized cot to be put up to mark what would have been her fourth birthday in September.
The full-time mum now faces an agonising wait to see if the 'special tribute' will be torn down.
"I was very angry and upset when I received the letter on my youngest daughter's birthday – I just thought it was very selfish and heartless,” said Stacy from Immingham, Lincolnshire.
"It's a massive comfort to me to be able to go out and do stuff for her, it's how I deal with my grief.
"These are the things I would have done for her if she was here. It's my way of treating her but in a different kind of way – it's part of my grief journey.
"The council are saying it's a health and safety hazard but who the hell is going to be walking over a grave? It doesn't back it up.
"Lots of people have fencing up there and others have kerb stones the length of the person in the grave.
"How is that ok but this isn't? It seems petty. Why would you want to take that away form a grieving family?"
In the letter, which the couple received on their youngest daughter Iylah’s second birthday, the council claimed they didn’t wish to “cause any offence or upset” but requested the cot railings and kerb stones be removed as they were contrary to regulations.
Stacy gave birth to stillborn baby Maisy at 41 weeks in September 2013 after experiencing some complications during the pregnancy.
"We tried for three years to conceive her – she was so wanted,” said Stacy.
"As a mum I knew something wasn't right before going into labour – they put it down to placenta failure.
"When she died I was a mess, she was my first born, I just didn't want to be here anymore.
"She was so beautiful and was born with lots of hair – it was tragic.
"I got to spend some time with her, but not as much as I would have liked as they didn't have cuddle cots at the hospital."
Little Maisy was buried at Mill Lane Cemetery in Immingham the next month, near to her baby cousin who was also tragically still born.
"Burying Maisy was the worst feeling in the world, I've never felt pain like it,” explains Stacy.
"It's just so tragic. It should be the other way round – it should be me going before her, not me burying her."
The couple replaced a plaque they had on her grave with a Disney headstone this February.
Stacy was inspired to put up the cot after seeing a hand-made memorial on social media, and revealed it means the world for her daughter to have something there all year round.
"I was looking on Facebook and I saw someone had done something quite similar – I was so inspired by it,” she said.
"It's extremely special to all of us… Maisy is part of our everyday life with us in spirit – we want to do what we can and make sure her memory live on,” said Stacy.
Angered by the ‘heartless’ letter, Stacy and her pizza chef husband have decided to fight the council.
"We haven't been in touch with the council, we decided to take the bull by the horns and launch the petition to convince them to let us keep her cot,” she said.
"This is not just for Maisy, I'm passionate about making a stand for us and other angel parents who want to do something nice for their babies, it's a cause close to my heart."
A council spokesperson has defended the letter, claiming Stacy didn’t request permission to put up the cot, and is currently attempting to meet with the mum to reach compromise.
"There is nothing worse than losing a child, we do understand that but we do have rules and regulations both from a national level and from North East Lincolnshire council that we have to abide by,” they said.
"We try to be as sympathetic as we can.”
- Additional reporting by Caters News