Mortonhall memorial for ashes scandal babies

: Mortonhall is one of the proposed sites for a memorial to the babies. Picture: Neil Hanna
: Mortonhall is one of the proposed sites for a memorial to the babies. Picture: Neil Hanna
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A MEMORIAL to remember the hundreds of babies whose ashes were dumped in the gardens of Mortonhall Crematorium is being planned for the Meadows.

City leaders are due to consult parents later in the summer on the location and design of any memorial – and council sources stressed their wishes would determine what was done.

But the Meadows has already been identified as one likely site, along with Bruntsfield Links, Princes Street Gardens and Mortonhall itself.

Special legislation would be needed at the Scottish Parliament to allow a memorial at any of the city-centre locations.

The idea of a memorial was among the recommendations in Dame Elish Angiolini’s report into the scandal which saw babies’ ashes buried in the crematorium grounds despite parents being told there were no remains.

Next week parents are set to tell their stories at a special council meeting before officials are quizzed by councillors.

The council has already issued a full apology to all the parents affected and promised to ensure the scandal is never repeated.

An action plan drawn up by a working group including senior council officials and parent representatives also refers to a possible memorial at Mortonhall.

In her report, published in April, Dame Elish suggested land at Mortonhall could be turned into “a dignified memorial to the babies whose remains may be interred there” if parents felt that appropriate.

She added: “Alternatively or additionally, a suitable memorial should be created elsewhere given the feelings of many of the parents towards Mortonhall.”

Ahead of next week’s meeting, council leader Andrew Burns said: “I want to repeat my absolute heartfelt apology to the parents who have been affected by this issue. I am very grateful for the manner in which the families have engaged with and the way they’ve handled the process.

“Both the individual families and the representative groups have really conducted themselves with a lot of dignity and good grace, and I am very grateful for that. The investigation set in train has now led, not just to potential change at a Scottish level but to change at the United Kingdom level. Their experiences will undoubtedly lead to UK-wide changes in legislation – they deserve huge credit for that.”

Environment convener Lesley Hinds said: “For us in Edinburgh, the key is to make sure we deliver all the recommendations that came from the report.

“The key in all of these things is not to let it go. We need to make sure that this doesn’t happen to any parents and families in the future, and that’s the key for me.

“We need to learn from the past. I am sure we have got a good service there but we need to keep reviewing it, keep scrutinising it and get the best service possible, and ensure the Scottish Government delivers what’s in the recommendations. Hopefully in a year’s time, everything that’s in there will all have been delivered.”