Shock as babies trinkets are removed from Leeds crematorium

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Bereaved families are upset after being told that they need to move memorial trinkets left in a dedicated spot at a crematorium for babies who have died.

Tracey Moreton, 35, scattered her son Theo’s ashes at Cottingley Crematorium in 2011 after he was still born at 22 weeks.

In the years after she has used the baby garden as a place to leave teddy bears and memorial stones in remembrance.

But after visiting this week she noticed a sign which tells people that “unauthorised items” such as ornaments, glassware and pottery are “strictly not allowed” – and her momentos had been removed.

“When I scattered my little boy’s ashes we were never told [this would happen],” she said.

“To have that taken away is quite heartbreaking and not to be notified is quite upsetting.”

Clare Walker, 31, lost her baby Courtney-Jade 12 years ago, and has removed her own memorials from the garden after hearing about the signs.

“Not everybody can afford a [memorial] stone and this is somewhere special for grieving parents to go,” she said.

Coincidentally, Tracey and Clare became aware of the signs during what is Baby Loss Awareness Week.

“This is something that happens to a lady every day and it’s such a taboo subject,” said Clare.

A Wave of Light will take place tonight, during which people are urged to light a candle for at least an hour from 7pm to remember lost babies.

A Leeds City Council spokesman said: “We work extremely hard to provide at all our sites, somewhere where people can remember their loved ones in a quiet and respectful environment and are extremely sorry if anyone has been upset with the suggestion of the removal of tributes from the baby garden.

He said that due to the scale of tributes left on the lawns, it is difficult to manage the grounds to the highest possible standards and sometimes results in thefts and complaints of areas being neglected.

He added that signs been in place at these gardens for many years requesting that relatives do not leave items on the lawns. “More recently we have also installed newer signs to relay the same message.”

Removed items are kept on site for people to collect, he said.

Visit babyloss-awareness.org for more details about Wave of Light.