Grieving couple threatens to exhume bodies rather than move mementoes


By Karrie Gillett

A GRIEVING couple are prepared to exhume the bodies of their two sons after being ordered to remove their loving graveside memorials.

Zander and Tricia Donaldson have hit out at council officials who told them to remove the mementos at the burial site of baby Lewis and 11-year-old Kieran.

They were told to remove two statues at the memorial at Bowhill Cemetery in Fife or face having them destroyed.

Now, the Donaldson’s, from Methill, have vowed to exhume the bodies of Lewis and Kieran and bury them in their own front garden – at peace.

The couple’s baby son Lewis was buried in 1998 after he was born prematurely stillborn and the family then lost their other son Kieran in 2006 when he died aged 11, after a tragic accident in the home.

Mr Donaldson, 40, said the family visited the grave almost every day and had taken great comfort in their private grieving.

He said: “The grave is for us and all the things we place on it are for us, and nobody else.

“When you’re grieving for two children and arranging to burry them you don’t think twice about regulations.

“The thought of actually having to disturb the boys and have the graves exhumed is horrific for us.

“It’s a last resort because we believe they are at rest together already.”

However, Mr Donaldson and his wife Tricia, 39, are adamant that if Fife Council enforces the policy regulations then they will go through the process of moving the bodies.

He said: “We could make the bottom bit of the garden a private graveyard and place the boys where no one will be able to disturb them again.”

Fife Council recently re-issued a reminder about its policy on graveside furniture and memorabilia.

The regulations state that burial sites should not exceed 8 inches in front of the headstone and 3 feet in width.

However, the rules have never been enforced and grieving families like the Donaldsons have continued to erect statues and place mementos on graves.

Mr Donaldson, a design consultant, said: “When you loose two children, just getting up every day is a struggle and you never get over it.

“But all this is doing is causing us even more emotional distress. It’s is breaking my wife’s heart – we just want to be left to grieve for our boys the way we want to.”

Grant Ward, senior manager with Fife Council community services, said: “As with any policy we have to ensure it is applied fairly and consistently.

“Our trained and sympathetic staff will meet with anyone face to face to discuss their concerns.

“We want to work with the public so our cemeteries are managed and maintained to the highest possible standards.”