Burnham-On-Sea town councillors last night (Monday) gave the go-ahead for gravestones in the town’s cemeteries to be given modern makeovers.

Barcodes are to be allowed on gravestones for the first time at Burnham and Highbridge’s three cemeteries, allowing visitors to find out more about the person laid to rest there.

When scanned on a smartphone, the square codes – known as Quick Response or QR codes – launch a web page which contains a biography of the deceased. The page can include a profile of the person, photographs and videos of them, plus tributes from family and friends.

The decision to allow the QR codes was made during Monday’s meeting of the Town Council’s Joint Burial Committee following a debate about whether to proceed given their rising use across the UK.

“Having a QR code on a gravestone will be entirely optional and of the family’s choosing,” explained Burnham and Highbridge Town Clerk Denise Emery.

“The web pages would also be controlled and maintained entirely by the family of the deceased or people connected with the organisation behind the memorial.”

“We have spoken with a couple of stone masons – one of whom came back with the feedback that the church felt it was not appropriate, while some others are more favourable. While we have not been approached by a stonemason to request this on memorials here, we are pre-empting future enquiries.”

Cllr Ken Smout said: “The codes will need to be discrete and small to ensure they are in keeping. If they maintain the dignity of the surroundings then I would have no objection.”

The committee agreed to draw up a new council policy regarding their use. This would include allowing only small QR codes.