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Buffy star fights chapel plan to build over graves
ONE of Britain's bestknown actors is opposing plans to build a £110,000 chapel over graves in a Hampshire churchyard.
Anthony Head visited St John the Baptist Church, Burley, on Saturday to attend a consistory court, which will decide if the scheme should be approved.
One of the five graves affected is that of his grandmother, Peggy Head.
She was killed in Ireland in 1922 when her husband's motorcycle and sidecar crashed into a tree that had been placed across the road by Sinn Fein, who were attacking a nearby police station.
Anthony, 54, has appeared in Little Britain, Doctor Who and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, plus a long-running series of Nescafe Gold Blend commercials.
He was accompanied by his father Seafield - Peggy's son - and his mother, veteran actress Helen Shingler, who appeared in the original Maigret series.
They viewed the grave and inspected a black and yellow tape outlining the position of the proposed chapel.
Anthony said: "Part of our objection is that the chapel bisects the grave. I have no problem with progress but not at the expense of graves."
The scheme was defended by the priest-in-charge, Canon Diane Webster, who was the first person to give evidence at the hearing.
She said the church needed to improve its accommodation and provide an area where small groups of people could engage in what she described as informal worship.
She added: "Styles of worship have changed and the type of accommodation needed has also changed.
"On one occasion a young man came in and wanted to light a candle in memory of his grandmother, who had died.He had to do it in full view of other people."
Jeanne Wilde, representing the objectors, criticised plans to build over graves.
Canon Webster replied: "It's something we would very much prefer not to have to do. We certainly regret it, but there are a lot of misunderstandings about graves. They hold human remains but not the essence of the person themselves."
Asked about the option of making more use of the church room she said: "It doesn't have the ambience - it's not a spiritual place."
The court was chaired by Mark Ruffell, Deputy Chancellor of the Diocese of Winchester, who will not give his verdict for several weeks.