Dismay over failure to repair graves

editorial image

a Strichen resident has been left “saddened and dismayed” by Aberdeenshire Council’s failure to take adequate remedial measures at Strichen cemetery to permanently repair a lair that now exposes the last resting place of children to the elements.

Local builder and historian Fraser Mitchell told the Herald he had noticed that the family lair was damaged and that the slab was broken back in September.

He said if you looked down into the hole the brass coffin handles could be seen.

Mr Fraser told us: “My wife reported this to Aberdeenshire Council at that time and within a few days someone from the council came and made temporary repairs by putting a piece of plywood over the hole and ribbons surrounding it warning of the danger.”

Four months on, the children’s coffins are again exposed to the elements.

“I am saddened and dismayed that it is taking the council so long to permenantly repair the grave. With the plywood gone and all the recent bad weather we have had it looks like the coffins are collapsing onto each other,” said Mr Fraser.

A spokeperson for Aberdeenshire Council told the Herald: “We received a report of a damaged crypt at Strichen Cemetery in September 2010 and carried out an inspection and temporary repair in the interests of health and safety.

“The crypt is privately-owned and not the responsibility of the council therefore we tried to trace the family without success.

“The severe weather affected the temporary repairs however this has since been rectified and a more permanent repair with concrete slabs will be installed as soon as possible.”

The children - Elizabeth Simpson, Alexander Simpson and Alexander Young Simpson all died within a year of their births in 1857, 1862 and 1867 respectively.

They were the children of Alexander Simpson, Advocate in Aberdeen, and the grandchildren of the Reverend Alexander Simpson who was a prominent member of the local community and the author of the New Statistical Account of Scotland – The Parish of Strichen, published in 1845.