NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Parents' anger over bid to remove toys at Hazlehead Cemetery

Graves at cemetery
Image caption The council wants toys and momentos cleared from the grass area

Parents have said they have been left "incredibly distressed" by a plan to remove toys left near the graves of young babies in Aberdeen.

A deadline for taking the memorabilia away from the small babies section at Hazlehead Cemetery passed on Sunday.

Aberdeen City Council said safety concerns over the items being left on the grass area and near the grass edge prompted the measure.

One parent has launched a petition against the move.

The council's concerns relate to fears that toys or mementos left on the grass could be caught up and thrown from grass-cutting machinery, causing severe injury.

Image caption The plan relates to the small babies section at Hazlehead Cemetery

In order to accommodate small mementos alongside the existing spaces for flowers, the local authority said the space at the headstones would be increased.

But families have expressed their unhappiness.

The petition calls for the situation to remain as it is, or for a compromise to be reached.

An Aberdeen City Council spokeswoman said: "We will not move items from the graves until we have met parents who wanted to speak to officers in person about this.

"We are waiting for parents to get back to us to confirm the date and time of their meetings.

"We appreciate this is a sensitive subject and upsetting for some parents, however Aberdeen City Council is responsible for the upkeep of the cemetery to ensure it is safe, accessible and presentable for all people who come to visit graves."

Last year, Aberdeen City Council apologised for the way families were treated after it emerged babies ashes were burned alongside unrelated adult at Hazlehead Crematorium.

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