Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

“Were they scattered? Were they buried? Would we ever get them back?” – two families’ anguish over Fife ashes mix up

Post Thumbnail

Fife Council has apologised to two grieving families after they were handed the wrong ashes by Kirkcaldy Crematorium.

One of the families said: “It was heart wrenching to know that we have retained someone else’s loved one for so long without their knowledge, yet, at the same time, believing we had possession of our own loved one.”

The relatives had opened up the casket they received from the crematorium to find the  polythene bag inside, which contained the ashes, was labelled with the wrong name.

They said: “That particular evening events promoted lack of sleep and phases of anxiety not knowing what had happened.

“Were they scattered? Were they buried? Would we ever get them back?”

The remains, handed to the families in August last year, were eventually swapped back.

In its investigation report, HM Inspector for Crematoria Scotland said it was fortunate that both sets of ashes had not been scattered before the mistake was discovered.

The families’ identities have not been made public.

As a result of the investigation, the inspectorate said “on the balance of probability” the wrong ashes had been handed over and it was not the labels which had been mixed up.

A member of staff at the crematorium was said to be “adamant” the polythene bag containing the ashes had been correctly labelled and the wrong labels had been put on the caskets.

“Both families having already suffered the grief of losing a loved one endured a further avoidable period of anxiety and uncertainty on realising that they had either received the wrong ashes or the caskets containing the ashes had been wrongly labelled,” said the inspectorate.

“The investigation carried out by the inspector established that on the balance of
probability both families had indeed received the wrong ashes from their respective
funeral directors, but fortunately….both sets of ashes were exchanged then retained and not dispersed pending the outcome of the investigation.”

Fife Council senior manager Alan Paul said standards “fell well below” what was expected and the authority had taken on board recommendations made by the inspectorate.

He said: “I have already apologised to both families for what must have been a very stressing situation at a time when they were already grieving.

“I’d also like to give an assurance that both our crematoria in Fife operate to a high standard and experienced staff work to quality standards based on legislation and national guidance.”

The council was told to review staffing levels at the crematorium after the investigation found that on a “number of occasions”  just one technician was responsible for carrying out multiple duties.

Among the recommendations was that there was “no recurrence of more than one casket being prepared together at the same location”.

Already a subscriber? Sign in