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Ashes plea repeated after fall in burials

L-r, Colin McGrath and James King at Kelso Cemetary. The burials at the cemetary are down by over 80% at the ground due to the new cremetorium opening up at Melrose.

L-r, Colin McGrath and James King at Kelso Cemetary. The burials at the cemetary are down by over 80% at the ground due to the new cremetorium opening up at Melrose.

A fall in burial numbers has underlined the need for a memorial garden and wall to mark the passing of people with Kelso links who opt for cremation.

So says local community councillor John King, who has been pressing Scottish Borders Council for several months to permit the erection of memorial plaques and allocate space for the ashes of people with connections to the town.

Last month, the local authority rejected his proposal, stating that a ‘compelling business case’ needed to be established, as the vast majority of people who choose cremation make provision for friends and family to scatter their ashes at a special location.

Asked about any drop in burials since the new crematorium opened, SBC said region-wide there had been no noticeable decline.

However, it did confirm a 12 per cent drop in burials in the Kelso area in the two years since the crematorium opened, as compared with the two previous years.

Mr King, who believes there has been a much greater fall in burials, told us: “If more people are being cremated, then some provision like a memorial wall needs to be made. There is a long wall round the cemetery – could plaques not be fixed to that?

“I know relatives often scatter someone’s ashes somewhere special, but there still needs to be a place for a public acknowledgement that this person actually existed.”

Fellow councillor, Colin McGrath, is chairman of Kelso Churches Together and says the issue is on the group’s agenda for its June meeting.

 

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