Meetings held with families over Hazlehead Cemetery’s small babies’ section

Meetings with several families over the works to the small babies’ section at Hazlehead Cemetery have been held after Aberdeen City Council invited them to speak with officers.

The City Council sent out 290 letters and received nine inquiries regarding the circumstances, and a total of six sets of parents or families asked to meet officers.

An Aberdeen City Council spokeswoman said: “We invited parents who had contacted us on this to meet with us and we have had discussions with them.

“We know this is an emotive topic and we treated the matter with the families with sensitivity, listened to the various views expressed, and also explained our rationale.

“We emphasised to the families that the main reasons that memorabilia cannot be placed on the grass is because the mementoes are obscuring other headstone inscriptions as well as causing difficulty for some families to access the headground, posy holder, and headstone of their baby. All parents we met acknowledge these reasons.

“The space at each grave is shared by three lairs, and the headstone is also shared by the three lairs.

“We are committed to ensuring all cemeteries are respectful and accessible to all visitors.”

At the meetings, the families suggested ideas and requests and officers will follow up these ideas for future consideration by the City Council via the Cemeteries and Burial Grounds Management Rules review that is due this year.

The work to increase the headground area to provide extra space to place mementoes will begin on Wednesday, 18 April 2018, and be completed by Thursday, 19 April, 2018. To allow this work to be carried out, mementoes require to be moved to a safe place. Once the work is complete, mementoes can be put back into the increased headground space.

Anyone who has memorabilia on the grass or a grave in the small babies’ section is asked kindly to remove these items before Wednesday, 18 April 2018. Any remaining memorabilia will be sensitively moved and placed within the walled paved area around the SANDS memorial within the small babies’ section. Mementoes will be left in the walled paved garden until 7 June, 2018, and then collected and stored for a further 12 months, until 7 June 2019.