Falkirk Cemetery clearout anger

editorial image

A cemetery’s clear up of tributes and other items from its garden of remembrance met with anger from bereaved families.

The garden, at the rear of Falkirk Crematorium, is where the ashes of the departed are scattered and where relatives come to lay flowers and other keepsakes to honour their memory.

Over the Christmas period bereavement services staff at the cemetery cleared out items from the garden. Some families have now complainted that they should have got their consent.

Falkirk Council apologised to the families, but stated this has been common practice at the cemetery over the last year.

Grangemouth councillor Robert Spears said he has had complaints from furious family members regarding the situation, which he felt could have been handled with more compassion.

He said: “They didn’t notify people they were clearing items from the site and it has caused a great deal of upset. There should have been some kind of notice warning families the site was going to be cleared.”

Items removed include a variety of crosses, wooden stakes and welded metal markers with numbers attached. The mementos are still at the crematorium so people can claim them. They had been placed by individuals to indicate a specific area within the garden.

The practice of leaving these items developed informally, but was not officially approved by Falkirk Council. According to staff, some of these unofficial markers had fallen into disrepair and had become unsightly.

A council spokesperson said: “For more than a year we have provided more ‘uniform’ markers for families to use and these have been positively received by many visitors as being far more in keeping with the setting of the Garden of Remembrance.

“Anyone who made enquiries over the last year would have been told this and that existing markers would be removed and carefully stored for collection. Clearly it is impossible to contact everyone who has left a marker as they will not always leave an indication of who they are.

“We apologise if this family was not aware of these arrangements but we would be more than happy to assist them if they contact our cemetery office.”