Order to remove grave tributes “heartless”

Springbank Cemetery.
Springbank Cemetery.

A bereaved Lanark man has hit out at an official letter ordering him to remove personal tributes from his wife’s grave.

Still coming to terms with his loss, John Prentice, of Glebe Court, regularly visits the grave of his late wife Cathy in Lanark’s new cemetery at Springbank and had left a tiny, personal memorial tablet in front of her gravestone.

He thought this a harmless and tasteful way to express his grief for the loss of his wife who died in January last year.

However, he has now, in his words, been “ordered” by cemeteries authority South Lanarkshure Council to remove the tiny, two inch by two inch tribute plaque.

An official letter to John from council Bereavement Services manager Danny Maxwell claims that the token was “having an adverse effect on grounds maintenance”. This claim, along with another in the letter that the tiny memorial is somehow presenting other burials taking place at the cemetery, is dismissed by John as “utter garbage”.

He said:” It’s just wee personal token on the grave, not interfering with anything nearby. This is a totally heartless way to treat folk who have suffered a loss, They should be ashamed of themselves. It is no way to treat people.”

The council letter, in detail, tells John that “Items are not permitted on the burial area as they prevent excavation and burials in the lair and adjacent lairs as well as having an adverse effect on grounds maintenance.”

Head of cemeteries at SLC Stephen Kelly said: “The letter referred to did not order the removal of memorial items but respectfully requested that the items be removed from the burial area and placed in the headstone border area. This is in line with the council’s Cemetery Rules and Operating Procedures and the relevant section on memorialisation was included in the letter. This allows the council to maintain and re-open lairs without risk to any items of memorialisation.”