An investigation is being carried out at Ayr Cemetery after concerns were raised over bodies ‘floating in water’.
A specialist bereavement contractor has been brought in to look at chambers believed to have been impacted by water ingress.
South Ayrshire Council has indicated that water was found within ten chambers that were inspected, before it was removed and the chambers sealed.
A three-week-long investigation had been planned by the contractor, looking at 30 chambers.
However, it is believed that this will now take longer than anticipated, with the cause of the water still being investigated.
The council has indicated that the chambers were installed by external contractors on the basis that they were watertight and airtight, whilst permissions obtained meeting.
Suzann McKenzie lost her son’s dad, James McGarrie, 32, in September 2019.
She explained that she discovered about the water via a fellow visitor to the cemetery.
A meeting was then called, where families raised concerns over the issue.
Speaking to STV News, Ms McKenzie said it was “disturbing” and “upsetting” to think of sentimental items placed with loved ones now potentially “floating about in water”.
“It’s the thought of all the things you put in beside your loved one, that you expect them to be laid to rest,” she said.
“My son’s got drawings in there, we’ve got letters. People put in their things to be comforting and knowing that their loved one in there’s got things around them, sentimental things that people (have) put in.
“I know to some people that may not mean anything but I’m picturing James and all that stuff more or less floating about in water.
“And it’s so disturbing and it’s so upsetting because it’s something that should not be happening.
“This shouldn’t even be a thing, this should not be happening and it’s happening.”
Ms McKenzie said that she told in September last year that the chambers are ‘airtight’ and watertight’.
But, she explains that the trust of families impacted has been lost in the process of the report.
She said: “They’re saying just wait the four weeks, but this is mentally messing with my head.
“And it’s not just me, it’s James’, everybody’s families, that are involved in this.”
She said: “I don’t understand how they can’t hurry up and report.”
SNP MSP for Ayr, Siobhian Brown, said families impacted who may need her help should get in touch.
“I have been contacted by several distressed constituents and I have spoken to South Ayrshire Council on their behalf,” said Brown.
“The local authority says a specialist bereavement contractor has looked at certain chambers within the cemetery as part of his investigatory works.
“He will now compile a report to find out what has gone wrong, how it can be fixed and how it can be prevented from happening again.
“This report could take a few weeks and I deeply regret that families will have a continued wait.”
Brown added: “When the investigation is complete work on the lairs affected must be carried out swiftly so these families can grieve in peace.
“I understand how distressing this is and any family that needs my help should get in touch.”
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