A pet cemetery in the north-east is proving so popular one woman drove 500 miles to bury her deep-frozen dead cat.
The beach site in the fishing village of Cullen has been growing for 22 years since former binman Stephen Findlay buried the local doctor’s dog.
The cemetery has grown almost to the size of a football pitch and is the resting place of hundreds of beloved dogs, cats, rabbits – and even a dolphin.
Mr Findlay, 85, the creator and caretaker of the pet cemetery, digs the graves and keeps them tidy.
He said: “The furthest a pet has travelled is from Birmingham.
“It was a cat owned by a policewoman who lived there but was originally from here.
“Her cat was run over.
“She kept it in a bag in the freezer until she could bring it up.”
Visitors to Cullen Beach are met with the sight of hundreds of rows of graves adorned with flowers, plaques, pebbles and even life-size stone ornaments of dead pets.
Mr Findlay said: “People just phone up and I ask what animal they want burying.
“Then I’ll go to the beach, dig a wee hole and we put the animal in.
“Most of the animals are local and I sometimes get small boxes of ashes to scatter.”
“I don’t know why I do it. It’s just a hobby. People always say they are grateful.”
Local doctor Susan Morrison was the first to ask Mr Findlay for help in burying her spaniel, Ben.
The 68-year-old, of Cullen, said: “When Ben died we wanted to bury him but we couldn’t do it in the garden – there wasn’t enough room.
“I asked Stevie, who worked as a binman at the time, if he could help us bury the dog somewhere.
“He buried him down at the beach. We got Ben a big headstone with his paw print on it.
“We never expected it to take off like this – people come from all over and ask if they can have their animals laid to rest there.
“I’ve now had several pets buried at the cemetery. We used to walk the dogs down there and it’s a comfort to know they are buried close to us.”
Mollie Moon, chairwoman of Cullen and Deskford Community Council, said the pet cemetery was a “wonderful idea”, adding: “In this area not many people have gardens and so it means they have somewhere close that their pets can be buried.
“It is beautifully tended by Stevie and is much appreciated by everyone.”