Family of grandfather who died of heart attack outraged after council remove memorial flowers
Richard Evans, local democracy reporter
The family of a grandfather who died of a heart attack have labelled Conwy County Council “disgraceful” for removing flowers, cards and photographs from a memorial bench.
David Johnson passed away aged 63 in 2013 before his family arranged to have his ashes scattered on Pennsarn promenade, a favourite place of his during his lifetime.
The family then decided to pay for a memorial bench at the spot, costing £1,200, to remember the grandfather of eleven and father of five.
The family say the memorial bench has been decorated with bouquets of artificial flowers, cards, photos and solar-powered fairy lights at Christmas.
But when the family returned to the bench last week, they discovered the council had removed the flowers and cards after eight years – and without notifying them first.
David’s widow Rosemary says she is furious.
“We’ve had the bench there for over eight years,” she said.
“Nobody has ever said anything. Then when we drove over last week, everything had been removed. They had taken the flowers from everyone’s bench.
“We had flowers, a card and a photograph. At Christmas, the bench was all done up with little lights. They were solar. The council didn’t even get in touch with us.
“It is a special place. His ashes are scattered there. We’ve always visited Pensarn since our eldest child was a baby. We’ve been coming for 54 years. We used to come down for the day in the summer or birthdays or anniversaries. We had barbecues there, and the whole family came.”
‘I don’t understand why’
She added: “Everyone who passed and walked their dogs said how nice it was. It cheered people up. So I don’t understand why they would do that.
“I’m very annoyed. I think the council are a disgrace. They’ve got my address. They could have let us know. We had to get permission to scatter the ashes. Everything has been taken away without any warning.”
David’s niece Stacy Dawson-Clarke is from Rhyl and agreed.
“It’s heartbreaking,” she said.
“Everyone loves the bench. It’s always brightly lit with some solar lights, and we always get compliments about how well looked after it is.
Having the lights and flowers harms no one and has no bearing on people sitting down either.”
A spokeswoman for Conwy County Council commented: “The agreement when getting a memorial bench is that no adornments are allowed, other than the plaque on the bench.
“We understand the sensitivity and we don’t intend to cause upset. We have kept the items which we removed, and family members can contact our Harbours team on 01492 596253 to arrange to collect the items.”
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