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The Telegraph
The Telegraph
Telegraph reporters

Police called over 'un-Christian' Hallowe'en display

A complaint has been made about the Hallowe'en charity display at Shortlands station - Triangle News
A complaint has been made about the Hallowe'en charity display at Shortlands station - Triangle News

An annual charity Hallowe'en display at a railway station may close for good after a single complaint was made about it being "un-Christian".

Denise Janes, a railway booking officer at Shortlands station, in Bromley, south London, has raised more than £400,000 for charity over the years, partly as a result of her imaginative Hallowe'en displays.

One involved a fake body being run over by a car driven by a skeleton. The bookings clerk taped off the scene with a police cordon and even persuaded local British Transport Police officers to park their van at the scene to make it look as if they were investigating.

This year, one corner of the bookings hall features creepy figures, including the Grim Reaper looking over a coffin and a skeleton in a Southeastern uniform. The display is expected to raise thousands for Demelza Hospice Care for Children in south London.

The display has been called 'un-Christian' by a local woman - Triangle News
The display has been called 'un-Christian' by a local woman - Triangle News

But a local woman, who has complained in the past about the displays, made another complaint to Southeastern railway and also called the police, saying Ms Janes's creation was offensive to the religious.

However, Southeastern, Ms Janes's employer for the past two decades, is standing by her. She has been praised as a "super fundraiser" by the company and has also been nominated for the Rail Staff Awards.

In 2020 her Hallowe'en event at the station included a children's disco, sweets, cakes and a bouncy castle. In return she asked passengers for a donation for charity.

Ms Janes, 63, said she was hurt by the complaint, and will not make any more displays in future.

"I'm the unsung hero for Shortlands, I'm the unsung hero for Bromley, I'm a national customer service champion, everything I do is for the community," she said.

"I help the homeless, I've raised £400,000 for charity and we're only a small station. I've said I'm standing down because of complaints. I'm not going to do the displays any more.

"I make all of them by hand, it takes me ages. It's a lot of money I pay out of my own pocket to give the kids something in this community."

A local residents' Facebook group is supporting Ms Janes and hopes she will reverse her decision.

A spokesman for Southeastern said: "It's just not true that the Hallowe'en display is being removed. Our customers and the wider community love them."

A spokesman for British Transport Police said it would be unlikely any complaint would be logged as an offence.

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