Goth chief backing for churchyard ban

Founder of Whitby Goth Weekend, Jo Hampshire, has spoken exclusively to the Whitby Gazette in regards to the recent row over the banning of photography in St Mary’s Church grounds.

It follows our story last week when some photographers claimed the ban could ruin the goth weekend and possibly even bring it to an end.

Our story was subsequently featured in the Daily Mail, the Daily Telegraph and on Radio 2, where Ms Hampshire was unhappy about some of the comments aired, including one which said St Mary’s Churchyard was “like a Stonehenge for Goths.”

In her statement, Jo said: “In recent months, there has been much controversy surrounding St Mary’s Churchyard in Whitby, specifically regarding photographers asking Goths to pose for photographs on and around tombstones.

“Following this in July, Whitby Parish Council erected signs in the churchyard stating that photography was no longer allowed.

“In some cases people have been photographed laid or even stood on tombstones, and after viewing examples of these the Whitby Goth Weekend contacted St Mary’s Church offering full backing to their decision. A statement was released to this effect and this support still stands.

“Although the churchyard closed in 1861, it is hallowed ground and contains the tombstones of many local Whitby families who continue to this day to scatter the ashes of loved ones in the churchyard.

“The actions of this thoughtless minority are not only disrespectful, but also offensive.

“It is disappointing that the actions of a few irresponsible individuals have spoiled an enjoyable part of the Whitby experience for not only Goth Weekend visitors, but for every member of the public that visits the churchyard.

“We intend to do all we can to stop this behaviour and will be exhibiting posters and speaking to all the photographers we encounter at our future events.”

This statement is fully in keeping with the requests for respect from St Mary’s Churchwarden, John Hemson.

Whitby Goth Weekend next takes place from Friday 4 to Monday 7 November.

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