15:53 Friday 11 January 2013

Family blast 'cruel' crem

Written byBY ADRIAN JENKINS

BRETBY Crematorium showed a shocking ‘lack of respect’ by removing memorial bouquets just hours after they were laid, outraged siblings have claimed.

The late Wenda Craddock’s six children blasted the Midlands Co-operative Society-run centre after alleging it cleared floral tributes placed by them in its Geary Lane grounds on what would have been their mother’s 82nd birthday.

“I felt awful and was so angry,” said Tracy Boam, 45, of Chatsworth Road, Newhall, one of four daughters and two sons who paid their respects to Mrs Craddock two years to the day after her ashes were scattered at the crematorium.

“The thought we had gone up there to show our respect and to leave flowers for my mum and for her birthday and to talk to her; the crematorium had got no respect for that and had cleared everything away.

“They could see they were fresh flowers but it did not matter.”

The crematorium became a focus for the family’s remembrance of their mother after the 80-year-old’s funeral was held there in December 2011 following her sudden death at her Pine Grove home, in Newhall, late the previous month.

Keen to pay their respects, five of her children – Shane Craddock, Leigh Bretherton, Lynne Dent, Kim Bloor and Mandy Bennett – laid flowers at the crematorium at various times on Tuesday, paying up to £20 each for their bouquets.

By 4.30pm, when another tribute was laid on behalf of some of Mrs Craddock’s grandchildren, the other bouquets were gone.

The family only discovered the flowers had been removed when Mrs Boam, who had been unable to lay her own tribute at Bretby on Tuesday due to her work as a counter assistant at Newhall Post Office, arrived a day later to place flowers to find her siblings’ tributes had vanished.

She only realised what had happened when she spoke to her sister, Mandy, who almost burst into tears.

Mrs Boam’s husband, Mark, went to the crematorium and was told that ‘as a goodwill gesture’ he could lay some of its flowers.

“In my eyes that was not good enough and did not show the respect we wanted. I felt more angry,” said Mrs Boam.

“We all feel so much hurt and anger and I feel I’ve got nowhere to leave flowers and talk to my mum. I feel they’ve taken that away from me.

“The crematorium seems to have gone downhill. It seems they are happy enough to take your money off you to do the cremation, but they don’t care. I’m not happy at all.”

The Midlands Co-operative Society failed to respond to a request for a comment before the Mail’s deadline.

According to Mrs Boam, signs at Bretby Crematorium say staff will clear flowers on two days of the week, including Tuesdays, the day this week when Mrs Craddock’s family paid their respects.

Despite the notices, Mrs Boam insisted that crematorium staff should have realised the family’s flowers were fresh and left them in place.

She said the Co-operative Society should introduce a policy under which tribute flowers were left in place for up to five days, a practice which would satisfy the crematorium and grieving relatives.

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