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Thursday, 24 April 2014

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Relatives plan action group after Cumbrian crematorium's ban

Grieving relatives have hit out at crematorium bosses after tributes were removed.

Distington crem photo
Gillian Strickland and her sister Susan King

They say they are now planning to form an action group over the way the crematorium is run.

Families say they have been left infuriated after officials at Distington Hall Crematorium removed tributes which have been left in areas where ashes have been scattered by loved ones.

Flowers, vases, and other tributes are all now declared out of bounds, they say. But relatives have become increasingly vocal in their opposition to the policy, saying Copeland Council should follow the example of Carlisle Crematorium, where such tributes are allowed.

Gillian Strickland, 52, and her sister Susan King, 60, planted a cherry tree in the crematorium grounds in memory of their father Billy Wildgoose, who died aged 87 three years ago.

They had tied a name tag to the tree, and sunk a vase into the ground at its base for flowers, while Mr Wildgoose’s great grandsons attached an artificial robin to one of its branches.

Yet all those things have now been taken away because officials say they are in breach of their no tributes policy. “We think it’s absolutely disgusting,” said Gillian, who is Lowca parish councillor.

“There seems to be no compassion in the way they’re running this crematorium.

“Before he passed away, our father told us that he wanted his ashes to be scattered there because it was so nice, but there’s been a real deterioration in the place.

“Their attitude stinks.

“They’ve said that people can lay flowers on the ground, but in the summer they won’t last ten minutes.”

“We feel so strongly that we are considering forming an action group.

“All we want is for them to run the place with a bit of compassion, the way they do in Carlisle.”

Susan added: “If it’s possible to do it right in Carlisle it should be possible in Distington.

“Our mother has been absolutely shattered by this.”

Nobody from Copeland council was available for comment but Copeland’s Distington councillor John Bowman said staff at the crematorium were trying their best to provide services in a “sensitive and caring way”.

“Along with other councils, we have to cut back on services and balance that with finding ways to be user friend at the same time,” he said.

Two months ago, Keith Parker, Copeland council’s head of neighbourhoods, said that floral tributes can be left in the Chapel.

He added: “However, we do not permit memorials in the grounds themselves and have signs to let people know we will remove items that are left, which is undertaken after a short period.”

Have your say

My Dads and my Sisters ashes are placed in the grounds of Distington crematorium and the rules are straightforward. Just follow the rules! If everyone planted cherry trees then eventually there will be no room to scatter peoples ashes. If you want a permanent memorial then go to the cemetery or have an entry put on the plaques in Trinity gardens.

Posted by Alan on 18 December 2013 at 22:54

I think this is disgusting people have their loved ones ashes scattered in the grounds but are not allowed to leave tributes in that case why cant there be a wall with plaques with names on and a vase attached like Carlisle have. It is only a matter of time before people start to take their loved ones to Carlisle for cremation then Distington hall will close there is nothing at all at Distington hall for loved ones to go to it is about time these officials found some sympathy in their hearts for bereaved families.

Posted by Karen Brown on 18 December 2013 at 13:57

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