A family has been given an apology from Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital after the memorial garden where their daughter’s ashes were interred was built on.
John and Judith Croote, of School Road, St Germans, say they were not informed about the work to the memorial garden where they buried the ashes of their daughter Lisa under an ornamental cherry terry.
Student nurse Lisa was 18 when she died 20 years ago following an epileptic fit.
Retired QEH surgical support worker Mr Croote said the cherry tree has been removed and the garden “ripped up” as part of building work in a £3.2 million project to improve the hospital’s accident and emergency department.
The family learned about the fate of the garden from friends at the Gayton Road site and feel they should have been informed officially.
Mr Croote, 70, who had worked at the hospital for 27 years, said: “I understand that progress has to be made but I would have been much happier if they had simply contacted us to say what they were planning.
“I am loyal to the hospital. I loved my job and the people who worked there but I have found it callous how the management has carried it out without letting people know.
“They must have been planning it for months.”
The garden was chosen to inter Lisa’s ashes as she found nursing a vocation.
Mr and Mrs Croote have held meetings with the hospital chaplain and have seen emails which state that relatives could not be contacted.
Lisa’s plaque is now being moved to the hospital’s sacred place. Mr Croote said: “I would like a public apology.”
In response, QEH chief executive Manjit Obhrai told the Lynn News: “I would like to express my sincere apologies to Mr Croote.
“It must have been a dreadful shock for him to discover the work had been carried out in the area where his daughter’s ashes had been laid to rest.
“The courtyard had been traditionally used by staff for quiet reflection, prior to the Sacred Space being constructed, and some commemorative plaques had been placed there.
“Arrangements were put in place to move the plaques sensitively to the Sacred Space garden and relatives were contacted. We are extremely sorry that Mr Croote was not contacted.
“A special service of re-dedication, led by the hospital chaplain, is planned for these later this year. In addition, Mr Croote has met with our chaplain and we will work with him to create a suitable memorial in Lisa’s memory.”
The hospital is installing the modular building to increase capacity in the accident and emergency department.