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‘Absolutely disgraceful’: Outrage after Aberdeen memorial gardens cleared of loving tributes

Many family members buy benches to place in the garden to remember their loved ones. Picture by Kami Thomson/ DCT Media.
Many family members buy benches to place in the garden to remember their loved ones. Picture by Kami Thomson/ DCT Media.

Families have been left distraught and angry after the Garden of Remembrance at Kaimhill in Aberdeen was cleared of all memorabilia items yesterday.

The gardens in Garthdee, which are owned by Aberdeen City Council, were cleared of personal items and memorabilia on Thursday.

Many have said there was no warning from the council. Most people were only made aware of the clearance on Thursday afternoon as word spread on social media.

The gardens on Kaimhill Road are a sanctuary where many go to remember and commemorate lost loved ones. The clearance of the gardens has left people feeling shocked and distressed.

However, Aberdeen City Council has stressed “permanent” memorials are not allowed in the gardens.

Irreplaceable items were removed

One user of the garden, Heather, said it was “absolutely disgraceful”.

She first heard that anything was happening when her sister sent her a post published on social media. When Heather arrived at the gardens, she said that everything was gone.

She said she just did not understand why the council would clear the items, saying: “It’s somewhere you go to obviously remember your loved one and for someone to do that, I don’t even know what to say quite honestly.”

Heather visits with family every couple of weeks to remember her father, grandmother and grandfather. Her grandmother bought a bench in the garden that Heather and family use to sit and remember their loved ones.

Personal items left to remember loved ones were cleared yesterday at the Garden of Remembrance in Aberdeen. Picture by Kami Thomson/ DCT Media.

Her granddaughter had made something for her grandad that they attached to the bench but even this was removed.

She worries that they will not be able to get it back, adding: “There are some things that you can’t replace. You can’t replace something a granddaughter has made for her grandfather.”

Heather said she understood why items might have to be moved due to stormy weather or if they get in the way of grounds keeping but the items moved did not fit this description – stressing the significant of items attached to the benches bought by families and not the council.

‘I don’t want my dad’s bench to look bare’

The Aberdonian mentioned that she was not the only one. One lady told her how the toys placed for her seven-year-old grandson who passed away were removed.

She said: “If you saw toys you obviously know it’s for a little kiddie, why would you even move that?”

The grandmother told Heather that the toys actually had belonged to her grandson and that she was going to have to tell his mum that they were gone. She said she would have to try and collect them from Hazlehead.

Items cleared were bagged and can be collected from the Hazlehead crematorium. Heather said that this in itself is quite upsetting as you have to look through other people’s tributes to loved ones.

Another user of the gardens said they had also been cleared by the council about four years ago. Picture by Kami Thomson/ DCT Media.

Another lady she spoke to said a similar thing had happened four years ago. Heather said that the most upsetting thing about the incident was that no one appears to have been told.

Speaking about Aberdeen City Council, Heather said: “This is somewhere where I go to to remember my dad and I talk to my dad when I go there.

“If they’re going to do something like that they need to let people know, it’s not their right just to go and strip all these personal items from the benches.”

Heather said although she worries it will happen again, they would continue to place items on her dad’s bench.

She added: “I don’t want my dad’s bench to look bare. I want it to look like someone cares. I don’t want it to look like it’s got nothing on it at all.”

Response from Aberdeen City Council

An Aberdeen City Council spokeswoman said: “The gardens at Kaimhill are well used by families and individuals who wish to pay their respects to a loved one. We want the gardens to be a nice place to visit and for that reason we periodically tidy them and remove any memorials, such as floral tributes.

“No permanent memorials are allowed and there is signage within the gardens informing people of this.”

They said anyone wishing to collect any of the items removed can do so by visiting Hazlehead Crematorium from 9am to 4pm.

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