A GRIEVING Solihull mother has been left devastated after discovering a memorial stone for her son had been removed and dumped in a recycling box behind toilets by staff at Woodlands Cemetery.
Bhakti Gosrani and her husband Bhavin visited the garden of remembrance at the Solihull Council-run cemetery on Monday (September 12) to pay tribute to her son, Rohan, on what would have been his second birthday, only to discover the memorial stone made especially for him had been removed.
Looking around, Mrs Gosrani saw the garden of remembrance – designated specifically for remembering babies – had been cleared of all trinkets and tributes which had been left by grieving parents.
She told the Observer: “I nearly passed out when I walked into the garden.
“They had wiped out everything that had been left there and planted shrubs in their place.
“It feels like they have dug up Rohan.”
Seeing how upset Bhakti and her husband were, a kind-hearted member of staff led her and her husband around the back of the public toilets at the cemetery where the tributes had been dumped in green recycling bins.
And it was only after searching through the piles of discarded memorials that Bhavin found the stone they had especially made in their son’s memory.
After years of IVF, Mr and Mrs Gosrani were delighted when they fell pregnant naturally with Rohan in 2014.
But tragedy struck when a routine scan revealed his heart had stopped beating.
“I feel completely distraught anyone has done this,” she said.
“You can’t treat people’s property – particularly parents’ memorials to their children – like that.
“We gave the cemetery the responsibility to look after our little boy and they have completely broken our hearts.”
Solihull council had placed a small sign in the garden, reading: “To preserve the natural beauty of this scattering area and to ensure that it is welcoming to all, the placing of items that restrict maintenance, act as a barrier to others visiting or items attached to trees, shrubs or fences is not permitted.
“The areas of ground that have been fenced off by families will soon be removed and boxed up for a period of six weeks before being disposed of, therefore if you wish to keep the items you have placed safe, please remove them yourself.”
But Mrs Gosrani says she cannot understand why grieving families were not warned the items were going to be removed – giving them no time to come and respectfully remove their treasured memorials themselves.
She is also concerned the lack of information could result in some families’ items being disposed of before they have time to collect them.
A Solihull Council spokesperson argues Mrs Gosrani should have been aware of the rules, that have been in place since 2014, which prohibit floral tributes or any other items from being placed in the garden.
They added: “The Council has received complaints from service users of items being placed in the Garden of Remembrance that were impinging onto the locations of their loved ones’ remains.
“Signage was therefore erected for a six week period to give notice that the items would be removed and placed nearby for collection.
“We have a duty to manage our cemeteries so that everyone has equality of access, that the atmosphere and environment is respectful, and safe for all.”
“Two years after his funeral and a 2014 Act was put into force by Solihull Council with only a six week notice period.”
“There have never been any signs or explanations telling us about this rule until now.
“Using recycling boxes for storing remembrance items next to public toilets is undignified.