Help with father’s missing headstone

I am hoping that you can help me with an appeal for information. I shall give you the story in brief: my parents and I moved to Udimore, just outside Rye, in 1964. My parents were both artists, (Joan and David de Bethel)and became quite well known in the Rye art community.

My father died in late 1977, by which time I was married and living in Yorkshire. My mother had my fathers ashes buried in Udimore churchyard, and a small headstone placed there. This headstone is now missing; I was first aware of it’s disappearance in March 2012. The current vicar of the parish has had a search done of the churchyard but there is no trace of it. No one seems to know what has happened to it. I have contacted the diocese, the archdeacon, the diocesan registrar, the funeral directors who undertook the burial of the ashes – all tell me that this is an unusual case, but have no answers.

I am hoping that an appeal may jog someone’s memory, perhaps someone who moved out of the village some years ago. My mother moved into Rye a few years after Dads’ death, but visited Udimore from time to time – I also visited the churchyard a few times, once with my husband. My mother is still alive, but sadly has had advancing dementia for the last ten years and so is not a source of information.

So – a rather odd circumstance! Please will you help me in my search for information?

Caroline Crabtree

by email