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Sisters unable to find mum’s memorial at Aberdeen Crematorium under storm damage and dog fouling

Shirley Lawson and Kelly Lawrie were devastated by storm damage at the crematorium. Picture by Kami Thomson.
Shirley Lawson and Kelly Lawrie were devastated by storm damage at the crematorium. Picture by Kami Thomson.

Two sisters were left devastated after being unable to find their mum’s memorial under fallen trees and debris at Aberdeen Crematorium.

Shirley Lawson and Kelly Lawrie hoped to spend time at their mum’s memorial on the fourth anniversary of her death.

However, when they arrived at the crematorium, there was so much storm damage that they were unable to find it.

Both upset, the sisters spoke to a member of staff at Aberdeen Crematorium, who allegedly told them they would be lucky if the mess was cleared in six months.

Miss Lawrie said: “The mess there is really, really bad. All the trees are down and my sister and I were really upset, we couldn’t even find mum at all with the trees.”

Mrs Lawson explained how she felt upon arriving at the remembrance garden: “I was upset, angry, we were trying to find where our mum is and the only way we could pinpoint her was because of a bench.

“Even then the only way I can describe it is I’m about five foot and the trees were nearly that high piled up on top.”

‘Added to the grief’

As well as fallen trees, Miss Lawrie said there was evidence of dog fouling beside wreaths which had been laid on memorials.

On the anniversary of their mum’s death, the sight of the mess only made the sisters more upset.

Mrs Lawson explained: “We were going to go up and just sit for a little while, spend some time but once we walked in and saw it that added onto the grief we were already feeling.”

The women had to tell their dad to stay away from the crematorium even though he had wanted to go and visit his wife, saying it would have been “too bad for him to see.”

They reportedly met another mourner who was in tears as he was unable to find his dad’s memorial.

Treated as ‘nothing important’

When Mrs Lawson raised the issue with a member of staff, she was allegedly told she wasn’t the first to complain about the issue.

She explained: “I went in and I couldn’t fault the receptionist, he was very nice, and he said a lot of people had been in yesterday complaining about the mess.

“He said they need to understand that this is where people come to visit their loved ones and to pay their respects. At the moment it’s just getting treated as a bit of grass, nothing important.

“Just because it’s a crematorium not a graveyard it should have the same respect.”

Council aware of the damage

A council spokeswoman said they were aware of the damage at Aberdeen Crematorium, however, they are unable to give a timescale for it to be cleared.

She said: “We are aware of these trees and, unfortunately with the thousands of trees we have down across Aberdeen, it is still not possible to give accurate timescales for the work required for all our trees however these trees will be seen to in the new year.

“We have a contractor lined up for January to tackle the woodland around the crematorium so we will look to tie all this work in together.”

The council also recently announced that services at the crematorium would have to abide by reduced numbers in light of the current Covid situation. 

This caused confusion with funeral guests earlier in the week.

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