Thanet council clears St George’s graveyard site after homeless group leaves – but now it looks like this again

Thanet council has now cleared the graveyard at St George's Photo Trevor Shonk

Thanet council cleared mess left behind by rough sleepers in St George’s Church graveyard in Ramsgate on Friday – but just days later this is how it looks.

The group, who had pitched around six tents on the site, left the graveyard following a fire on November 12 when a man’s tent ‘exploded’ in what is thought to have been an accident with a camping gas bottle. No-one was injured. Council workers attempted a clear up but the site is again a mess with rubbish strewn across the graveyard.

Ramsgate mayor Trevor Shonk said he visited police following the fire to make sure it was not an arson attempt targeting those sleeping on the streets.

He says a flurry of criticism that he was reporting the group was unwarranted.

He said: “I have dropped food for them and my clean clothes. The reason I went to the police was to make sure someone hadn’t fire bombed them.

“I wanted to find out how and why the fire started and check their welfare. I was told officers are awaiting a report on the matter from the fire brigade.

“It is very easy for people to knock me but I know what I do for all homeless. Every year I give money to the Salvation Army and to the Sailors’ Church for Christmas dinners.

“I also called Thanet council to clear the site for health and safety reasons.”

Trevor Shonk

The group had been sleeping in the graveyard for many weeks after the church gave permission for one man to stay there. There have been complaints from residents of intimidating and antisocial behaviour. St George’s Church was involved with trying to find accommodation for group.

Thanet Winter Shelter scheme, which runs from November to March and offers beds, advice and practical help, food and cleaning facilities for people living rough, opened its doors on Monday.

The scheme takes place at different isle churches throughout the four month period.

Find out more details here

St George’s volunteers also run a community meal scheme all year round. Read more here


  1. Shame Shonk doesn’t clean up the rest of Ramsgate. It’s a dump. Shonk has done nothing for Ramsgate except things that benefit his own gains…waste of space…..

  2. I doubt if you would actually try to remove a sleeping person. What is the point of doing so? There are few safe places for homeless people to sleep out-of-doors and the fact that so many people are in such a situation speaks volumes for the shortcomings of our society.

    The commercialization of Christmas is a grossdisgusting travesty of an ancient pagan and Christian religious festival. If a church cemetery can’t be a sort of sanctuary, then what can?

  3. That is sacrilege of a sacred resting place. I don’t believe even homeless people need to have such disregard for the sanctuary they are given. A bible lies neglected on the ground amongst the rubbish strewn all over and one of the gravestones is now destroyed too. My goodness, we want to help them but they make it hard for us. Nobody should be without a home in the UK, but some people actually live like this and will not be first on the list to be offered permanent accommodation. The grace of those giving up their time serving the homeless can be misplaced on some but that doesn’t mean they should stop altogether. Maybe our Tory government should divert more money away from other schemes to help put right the mess they have got wrong with Universal Credit, sanctions and fake assessments! The death rates of vulnerable people associated with cuts to benefits has shot up over the period since these changes took place after the Tories got into power.

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