Council to offer free 'memory trees' to bereaved families

It comes after North Ayrshire Council became inundated with applications for memorial benches in beauty spots.

North Ayrshire Council to offer free ‘memory trees’ to bereaved families to help commemorate loved ones iStock

Council chiefs are offering free trees to people to commemorate their loved ones as part of their support for bereaved families.

Councillors heard the existing option of procuring a memorial bench or attaching plaques to benches is nearing saturation point and it is proving difficult to support the wishes of individuals in specific locations, such as Largs promenade.

The option to purchase a bench with a prefabricated memorial could remain. However, the asset would be placed in a location identified by the council and agreed with the applicant, including parks and open spaces, rather than already-congested coastal areas.

North Ayrshire Council will be responsible for all installation work. If the bench is to be placed on grass, it will usually be fitted to a concrete base. Memorial plaques will need to be made of brass, stainless steel or aluminium and will be a maximum agreed size.

Any inscription on plaques will require approval by the council before fitting. The engraved plaque will be fitted to the bench by local authority staff but the actual costs will be paid by those requesting it.

It’s suggested that dedicating a tree provides a living, growing memorial to a loved one and a poignant way of remembering them.

Areas have been set aside that will be suitable for this purpose. It would not only provide remembrance to a loved one, but also contribute to the global climate challenge.

The council agreed to provide living memorial trees free of charge to residents.

The only cost would be the purchase and installation of a plaque, which will be funded from the tree planting strategy investment fund budget until it is fully committed.

Another option of metal memorial trees positioned in high-amenity areas would also be on offer. They are able to provide up to 640 memorials in one location – creating a focal point for visitors and a single point of focus for families.

Once installed, the tree then has gold-effect aluminium “leaves” engraved with a loved one’s details, affixed securely to its branches over time.

Memorial rocks and stones, which can be placed on a beach or thrown into the sea, potentially being washed up for others to find, are also seen as a suitable memorial.

Councillors heard that not all bereaved family and friends are local and may not be able to easily visit physical memorials.

A digital page of remembrance would offer people from all over the world the chance to log in and view memorials at any time.

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