Bodies to be exhumed after graveyard plot blunder

Marc Ramage, with family deeds for the plots, at his mother's grave in Adambrae Cemetery. Picture: Lesley Martin
Marc Ramage, with family deeds for the plots, at his mother's grave in Adambrae Cemetery. Picture: Lesley Martin
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TWO bodies are to be exhumed 15 months after gravediggers buried a man in the wrong plot.

A short service will be conducted by a minister during the reinterment of Anne Ramage and Hugh McAleese at Adambrae Cemetery, Livingston, on Saturday.

The mistake was uncovered when Marc Ramage went to lay flowers at his mother’s grave and found Mr McAleese had been buried next to her, in a plot intended for his sister.

Now, after months of wrangling to seek permission from the courts, both families will see their loved ones laid to rest in a different part of the graveyard.

Father-of-three Mr Ramage, 44, said it would close what has been a “nightmare chapter” for the families.

He said: “I’m going to see my mum buried for a second time now. It’s not something I particularly want to do but I feel I have to be there.

“They’re doing it at first light so there’s not many people about.

“I want to make sure that everything goes okay and think there should be someone there for mum.

“It has been nearly a year-and-a-half since this nightmare began. I just want to get her finally laid to rest again so we can fulfil her dying wish of having her family next to her.”

Mr Ramage bought the deeds to a family plot five years ago to fulfil Anne’s dying wish – having Marc and his sister Sharon, 46, either side of her
so she would “never be
alone”.

But in April last year, he was horrified to see the space intended for his sister had been filled.

Cemetery bosses have since agreed to mark the former grave with a plaque redirecting mourners to his mum’s new resting place and ensure no-one else is buried in the lair.

She will now be buried in another three-person plot elsewhere in the grounds.

Mr McAleese’s daughters, Tracy Cross and Margaret McAleese, had bought the next door-but-one space for their father Hugh, who died in
February 2013.

However, they realised something was wrong when his headstone was erected in the wrong place.

After complaining, the headstone was moved to Mr McAleese’s current resting place and will now have to be diverted for a second time to mark his new grave.

A spokesman for West Lothian Council, which has since carried out a full investigation, again apologised for the mistake.

He said: “We have been in regular contact with the families over the past year in an effort to rectify the error in a dignified, sensitive and respectful manner, whilst also being mindful to respect their privacy.

“The timescales are largely dictated by the families who own the lairs and the need to follow due legal process. We have respected both families’ need to make a decision on how they wish to proceed in their own time.”