A PENRYN woman whose parents are buried in St Gluvias churchyard has branded it a "disgrace".

Cornwall Council recently took the decision to declare it a "closed" churchyard, but the resting ground has already become overgrown.

Trudy Rose told the Packet: "My parents and other loved ones are there, but it's not just untidy, it's a disgrace. You can hardly find some headstones because the weeds are up so high. Those who are laid to rest are still entitled to some respect."

The "closed" status puts onus on the local community to maintain the grounds, but Trudy says that the congregation is too small and too elderly to handle the upkeep.

The Helland Gardens resident, who visits the churchyard once a week, has written to the Bishop of Truro Philip Mounstephen to air her displeasure.

An extract of the letter says: "It seems that in the eyes of officials, this cemetery is abandoned and can be neglected and ignored and is no longer of importance. We would respectfully wish to say that this cannot and should not be the case.

"The problem...is that these changes have resulted in this historic ground becoming choked with nettles and overgrown with grass and devoid of facilities to keep the graves and their floral tributes clean and tidy."

When the Packet visited the churchyard, stinging nettles were encroaching on a bench which Trudy had bought to be near her parents' headstones - but they were barely visible despite only being a few feet away.

"It would be wonderful if there was someone locally who would be prepared to come along and cut it back from time to time. Many of the congregation are in their eighties so they're not able to do it. But anyone with a long strimmer could make such a difference," she said.

Cornwall Council has placed a sign in the grounds of the church, which is headed "Closed churchyard management".

Part of it reads: "Churchyards are areas of natural beauty and havens for wildlife for people to enjoy. Less intensive management enables wildflowers, trees, ferns and lichens to flourish which in turn provide a sanctuary for a variety of animals."

It adds that Cormac cuts the grass three times a year in closed churchyards - once in summer, again in mid-September and a third time in winter.

The Packet contacted Cornwall Council for a comment but it had not responded at the time of going to print.

Anyone who can help with church maintenance can contact Trudy on 07531 173845.