Staff at Mintlyn Crematorium have apologised after a memorial plaque was removed ahead of its renewal date much to the shock of their children.
Glenis Dolman, 69, was left distraught after her brother, Noel Sutherland, visited their parents’ memorial to lay a Christmas wreath and found the plaque had gone.
She said: “We were going frantic. My brother was in such a state. My husband and I had planned to go and visit the memorial on Christmas Day, but thank goodness my brother went early or we would have been in for a shock.
“The plot was up for renewal in January but it was paid for until the end of this year and I had every intention of renewing it. They should never have taken it down before the end of the year.”
The plaque was for Edward and Florence Sutherland, formerly of Thornham.
Mrs Dolman said: “It’s just the attitude – they took the plaque away before January 1, which we had paid up to and they shouldn’t have done that.”
A West Norfolk Council spokeswoman said a renewal letter had gone to an old address. She said: “We have looked into the matter and to avoid any further distress to Mrs Dolman or the family, Mintlyn will arrange to reinstate the memorial plaque immediately.
“We apologise for any upset this may have caused.
“We would like to remind people of the importance of letting us know about any change of address in connection with memorials so that such situations can be avoided.”
“A renewal letter was returned with addressee gone away. In these circumstances it is normal practice for us to remove the plaque until such time as contact is made, as renewal cannot be concluded.
Mrs Dolman said: “I don’t think they should have ever taken it away. It’s just lucky that my brother went to visit it before Christmas Day so we didn’t have the shock of finding it.
“I’m still seething about it. I’m pleased they are putting the plaque back where it belongs, but it never should have happened.”
The plaque has now been replaced.