Sussex

Keith Lane 'devastated' as Beachy Head memorial removed

Keith Lane
Image caption Keith Lane patrolled the cliffs after his wife's death and went on to win an award

A husband has criticised an "insensitive" council that removed a memorial to his wife on the cliff top at Beachy Head without warning.

Keith Lane said he was given no notice that the cross for his wife Maggie would be removed and it was done without his consent.

Eastbourne council said research had found memorials at the spot could influence people in a distressed state.

It said they were removed from the Sussex cliff to "help safeguard lives".

Mr Lane said: "I was devastated. Although it's time for me to move on, it's my decision when I want to remove it.

"If they'd had the decency and compassion to have contacted me I would have removed it myself.

"I'd have taken it home. I didn't have a clue where it had gone."

Cliff patrols

He said the Beachy Head chaplain team had been given pamphlets to hand out, but by the time he talked to them about the missing cross the damage had been done.

Adding it would be "nice to get an apology", Mr Lane said: "I think the insensitivity of it all leaves a lot to be desired."

Mr Lane patrolled the cliffs after his wife died in 2004 and received a Royal Humane Society award and plaudits from police.

He said since then he had remarried and started to move on.

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Maggie Lane fell to her death in 2004

The council said the decision to remove memorials was made with input from the Samaritans, the Beachy Head chaplains, HM Coastguard, Sussex Police and public health officials.

It said: "Research has also shown that knowledge of a site that many people have chosen as a place to end their life can lead to future incidents at the same location.

"The effect may not be immediate but can be a recollection, triggered years later, when the memory of a memorial could prompt individuals to return at a time when they desperately need help and support."

The removed memorials, around half a dozen, are being kept for up to one month in safe storage and Mr Lane said he intendeds to ask for his late wife's back.

Image caption Authorities want to "help safeguard lives" in the future

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