Walsall Council promise to move grave ornaments 'to a better place'

Walsall Council has promised to move the pile of cherished ornaments and pictures removed from graves at Streetly Crematorium to "a better place".

The ornaments and pictures were left in a pile
The ornaments and pictures were left in a pile

Loved ones of those buried or cremated in Streetly were outraged when artefacts, pictures, ornaments and even ashes were removed from graves and dumped near a bin on Thursday.

However, Walsall Council insist staff only removed what is prohibited on graves and memorials.

Director of place and environment at Walsall Council, Dave Brown, said: "Our bereavement services team fully appreciate the sensitivities involved in maintaining the cemeteries.

"Whilst every effort has been made to avoid restricting individual rights and choices, there is a rightful public expectation that the cemeteries are tidy and are places for peaceful contemplation."

He added: "The items which have been removed are not permitted and have been placed together for family members to collect.

"These will be carefully and respectfully moved to a better location over the next few days."

A sign explaining what was going to be removed

Crematorium users have complained the council's stance is too harsh.

Tracey Arrowsmith said: "It's disgusting, a lot of grieving families have paid for the plots so they should be allowed to put memorial gifts there. It is hard to lose family but when it's a child. I can't imagine the pain, and these gifts are not hurting anyone."

Many relatives only discovered their property was being taken from the graves when a shocked visitor to the crematorium warned people on Facebook.

One relative jumped over the fence after the gates had closed and was shocked to find the pot with his mother's ashes discarded on the path near the pile of rubbish.

The ashes of this lady were in the pot on the floor

The son-in-law of the grandmother whose ashes were almost lost forever said the silver pot had been glued onto a memorial slab not "interfering with maintenance" which was the reason given why objects were removed.

He told the Express & Star: "The whole family is really is upset about this. My brother-in-law jumped the gate as it was closed and found them in the pile. Her ashes would have been lost forever if he had not gone down and checked.

"It is a disgrace. The pot with her ashes in had been there for well over a year and glued to a proper memorial slab."

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