A WIDOWER has been left distraught after items his family left at Worthing Crematorium were removed and thrown in the bin.
John Gladman, of Penfold Road, Broadwater, lost his wife, Sheila, in May and her ashes are scattered at the Horsham Road, Findon, site.
He is one of many mourners upset by an announcement from Worthing Crematorium that personalised memorabilia left in its gardens would be cleared and now wants to take action.
The grandfather said: “Leaving items up at the crematorium has been common practice for the last 35 years and it is absolutely unnecessary to say that it can no longer happen.
“There is a young girl of eight who lost her mother when she was four-and-a-half and she writes letters and hangs them up on the tree, now they have been thrown away. My five-year-old grand-daughter had a Toy Story Woody keyring and she wanted to hang it up. She bought it with her own pocket money and now it has obviously been thrown in the bin. How can you explain that to a child?
“Emotions are running very high at the moment – I want people to be able to leave what they want and when they want to. It is personal because it is my wife up there but it is not just me that has been affected.
“I want the council to leave us alone. We all have our own way of grieving. If I am breaking the law by wanting to put a heart down for my wife then there should be a policeman there to arrest me and if not I will sit there until I am told it is okay to leave it.”
John’s nephew, Steve Gladman, said: “Sometimes they are literally throwing things by the bins as opposed to returning the things to the people or putting them somewhere for people to collect.
“John has done a lot of work up there cleaning the place up as he is a gardener by trade but the whole thing is a complete and utter mess and I do not understand why they are taking away people’s memories.
“John now feels that it is necessary to take stronger action because people’s voices are not being heard and I agree with him, I think what they are doing is disgusting.”
The family has starting circulating petitions to reverse the decision of council officials.
Wendy Knight, of Adur and Worthing councils, said: “The crematorium is a communal area. Each plot could contain up to 200 sets of ashes and scattering glades could contain thousands.
“The plots are not big enough to have 200 memorials on them– in fact, the grounds aren’t big enough when you consider we have now completed over 148,000 cremations.
“We have carried out cemetery clearances in the past – it is a very difficult balance to get right and hard to please everyone. This is not just a localised problem but one that features across the country.”