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Classical music fan denied permission to broadcast songs from St Michael's Churchyard in Stamford

A classical music fan is the latest to be refused permission to put on entertainment in a Stamford graveyard.

David Damant, 83, was hoping to play videos of classical music through a television and speakers in St Michael’s Churchyard to enrich the High Street shopping experience.

But members of Stamford Town Council voted by majority to deny the request during a meeting on Tuesday (July 29).

St Michael's Churchyard in Stamford
St Michael's Churchyard in Stamford

They stressed the area was meant for ‘quiet contemplation’ while also raising concerns about crowds and social distancing.

Coun Elaine Hooper (Ind) added: “We should also have respect for the people buried there.”

It comes less than six months after a request to hold a 'flash mob' dance in the area of the decommissioned church was also thrown out by councillors for similar reasons.

Mr Damant said he was relatively new to the town and was not aware the churchyard was meant to be an oasis of calm.

He said: “As I am a new boy in Stamford – only three years – I have not been aware of the ins and outs of this splendid town.

“Obviously if that space next to St Michael's Church is for quiet contemplation it would hardly be suitable for me to have the Queen of the Night exclaiming away!”

A former key player in the world of international finance and accounting, his plan was to show 21 videos while delivering the occasional commentary. Artists included the late Vera Lynn, the ‘Forces’ Sweetheart’, who passed away in June.

“My aim was to have a jolly really,” said Mr Damant, who lives at Torkington Gardens. “I’m always thinking of things to amuse me.

“I also think everyone should be passionate about classical music. Composers like Mozart and Bach are like Shakespeare, Dostoevsky and Rembrandt - the greatest achievements of the human race.”

Asked if he was disappointed by the council’s decision, Mr Damant replied: “My dear boy, I don’t have emotions about these things. I’m a stoic and rather detached.”

With the situation in Spain and Manchester, he said he had decided to put the plan on hold until the right time. At that point he may apply to ‘perform’ on the high street.

“I won’t do it until we are in a position to have an outdoor crowd,” he said. “Who knows when that might be though. It’s all quite a nuisance.”

It’s not the first time councillors have thwarted plans to perform in the churchyard.

An Arts Around Town family day in February was meant to include a 'Family Musical Flash Mob' in the grounds.

But members of the town council ruled it was inappropriate to hold dancing close to the graves.

They were also concerned about a marquee being put up on the churchyard for circus-themed events to take place.

At the time, a spokesman for Stamford Arts Centre clarified that there had been no plans for “dancing on the graves”.

She said: "It's not meant to be disrespectful, but an enjoyable event."

The churchyard, which is a popular place for shoppers to take a well-earned rest, was revamped in 2017.

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