Visitor complains about cemetery mementoes

The Remembrance Garden at Camelon Cemetery for stillborn babies and young infants
The Remembrance Garden at Camelon Cemetery for stillborn babies and young infants
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A remembrance garden for stillborn babies is to be cleared of worn and weathered mementoes.

Falkirk Council is to act after complaints about the state of the communal memorial garden in Camelon Cemetery.

However, the local authority also plans to extend the garden to allow more little ones to be remembered.

It has vowed to carry out the work sympathetically in a bid not to upset grieving families.

The memorial garden was opened in the late 1990s after collaboration with SANDS, the Stillbirth and Neo-Natal Death charity. It consists of a communal burial garden and a wall where memorial plaques can be added and is in the extension to the original cemetery, close to Falkirk Crematorium.

A recent visitor contacted The Falkirk Herald, concerned about its rundown appearance.

The elderly woman, who asked not to be named, said: “It was overgrown and covered in weeds. There were lots of mementoes but they were very worn and weather-damaged. Some of them were Christmas decorations still there at this time of year.

“Surely there should be a stage where they are taken away. It was very sad and I wouldn’t like to think of these little babies being remembered like that. It’s a very sad state of affairs.”

The council has vowed to clean up the area and asked relatives to remove keepsakes they want to hold on to.

Maureen Campbell, director of community services, said: “We have been in discussions with SANDS to provide an improved facility for the burial and remembrance of stillborn children and increase capacity at the site. We intend to make improvements, remove the hedge and extend the existing the garden. But in order to do this safely and without damaging the memorabilia there, we will be asking relatives to remove anything they wish to keep.

“To this end we intend to remove the material and store it safely should anyone wish to reclaim it later.

“It is a very sensitive matter and we appreciate relatives do want to remember their loved ones, however, our responsibility is to all relatives and to ensure that they have an appropriate and attractive place that is a suitable resting place.”

Every day in the UK 17 babies are either stillborn or die shortly after birth.

SANDS is a national charity, established by bereaved parents in 1981. It aims to support anyone affected by the death of a baby; to work with health professionals to improve care and services offered to bereaved families; and to promote research and changes in practice that could help to reduce the loss of babies’ lives. Its helpline can be reached on 020 7436 5881.