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:
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?