a grave mistake?

skull illusion loxton jason bryant1

Should you be obliged to look sombre if you work in the death business? Ray Loxton didn’t think so, but that was before his cheery disposition was made public.

The gravedigger from Somerset was happy to pose for a photographer who was looking for an interesting picture for the local newspaper. But when the following picture appeared in the Shepton Mallet Journal, some people didn’t share Ray’s cheery outlook:

skull illusion ray loxton gravedigger jason bryant
To be fair, he does look a bit…lurky

If I’m honest, the pose could have used some work. And despite Ray’s claim that “…the sun was in my eyes so I put my hand up to stop myself being blinded,” I can see why those of a sensitive disposition might find it a tiny bit disconcerting.

One reader certainly took issue. ‘How must the grieving family feel for whose relative Ray Loxton is digging the grave,’ muttered  Holger Harras of Evercreech (rather ungrammatically), “knowing that Mr Loxton has been photographed half naked and saluting in their relative’s grave. Isn’t there nothing more sacred than man’s and woman’s last resting place?”

Ignoring the double negative (which is making me itch, if you want to know), does Holger have a point? Should Mr Loxton have some decorum whilst in the presence of the dead, or does the fact that his daily companions have long stopped breathing mean that his outward appearance is irrelevant? Local pub landlord Steve Wilson certainly seems to think so, given this most excellent quote:

”What would they prefer, that Ray Loxton forces himself to cry while digging each grave and then self-flagellates with his shovel afterwards?”

The unexpected attention sadly led to Ray’s services being terminated by a local undertakers for whom he had worked for thirty years. A Facebook group has even been set up, calling for Ray to be given his job back

Should Ray Loxton be penalised for being friendly and enjoying his work? What do you think?

Original article in the Daily Mail



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4 Responses to a grave mistake?

  1. Sam says:

    Ohhh I saw this on the news and it made me so angry!! I hope the person who digs my grave (hypothetical as I’m to be cremated) is cheery and salutes. In fact I’d like them to do a Jarvis Cocker-esque salute with a wiggle of the hips!!!

    He isn’t carrying a coffin or in the presence of a grieving family where you’d expect a degree of solemnity and decorum.

    Poor fella. It’s madness and I hope he gets his job back!


  2. David says:

    He wasn’t pissing in the grave, he was digging it. I imagine doing hard manual labour like that is hot and sweaty and one would take their shirt off doing it. He was smiling for the camera as he was getting his photograph taken. And to suggest he was being disrespectful to someone’s last resting place – there would be no last resting place if he wasn’t digging it! That he was sacked is a disgrace and he should sue for unfair dismissal. It is completely unjust what happened to him.

  3. Cath Adam says:

    My brother did this for a while and the one thing that he said everyone needed was a bit of humour, at the right time…of course. His usual job was a gardener, so when a friend he hadn’t see for a while asked what he was doing now, his reply was planting ‘beins…..human ‘beins…..

    30 years and dimissed….disgusting!

  4. Elle says:

    Why can’t the man have fun while he’s working? A cheery disposition is certainly needed when having a job like this. My boyfriend works at a crematory, and after the services, when it’s time to burn the body, it’all fun and jokes there. Never about the deceases ofcourse.

    If you’re grimm and serious all the time when having a job like this, you wouldn’t be able to cope for very long!

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