Work begins on memorial garden for families affected by baby ashes scandal

Work has started on a memorial garden for families affected by the baby ashes scandal in Aberdeen.

It is being created after an investigation in 2016 found babies were cremated along with unrelated adults over many years in “unethical and abhorrent practices” at Aberdeen Hazlehead Crematorium.

In some cases, an infant coffin was placed at the side of or on top of an unrelated adult coffin and they were cremated together.

The local authority has apologised for past practices at the crematorium.

A memorial garden is now being created in nearby Hazlehead Park, while a sculpture will also be installed.

The garden and the sculpture are designed to evoke feelings such as reflectiveness, peace, remembrance, looking forward, sorrow, hope, love, stillness, responsibility and reconciliation.

The work is being carried out by MTM Construction and should be completed this spring, depending on weather conditions.

Roddy Mitchell, construction director at MTM, said: “We feel privileged to carry out the work on the garden as we know how much it will mean to the people affected, particularly as we are a local firm.

“We hope it will continue to be a mild winter and we can get ahead with the work, however even if we do get some bad weather yet, our aim is to get the garden finished as soon as possible to the highest standard.”

The garden has been designed by TGP Landscape Architects and the features include an arched entrance and several seated areas in the circumference of a grassed circular area, with the sculpture as the main feature in the middle of the circle.

There will be a more private area where families can sit, and relatives can also have the names of those affected permanently inscribed on rectangular-shaped metal plates if they wish.

A 1.4 metre high bronze sculpture featuring a flowing design of flying birds enclosing a seat, created by Maja Quille, will also stand in the garden.

The artwork is designed to provide a focus for contemplation and reflection in the memorial garden.