Families affected by cemetery ‘water ingress’ face agonizing wait to know if bodies will be exhumed

Desperate families face an agonizing wait to discover if they will have to rebury loved ones’ at South Ayrshire’s largest cemetery.

A probe into ‘water ingress’ at chambers in Ayr Cemetery is expected to last a further month with a top bereavement contractor working on a final report.

Last week, Ayrshire Live revealed water was found to be leaking into all of the 10 chambers inspected at the Holmston Road burial grounds.

Showbiz legend Sydney Devine’s final resting place was amongst the graves reported to have ‘water ingress’.

Now local politicians have reacted to the situation which has been described as an “absolute shambles” by a furious relative.

Ayr SNP MSP Siobhian Brown has held talks with council chiefs after being approached by distressed constituents.

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The former Ayr West Councilor says she “deeply regrets” that families will have to wait for answers.

Ms Brown said: “I have been contacted by several distressed constituents and I have spoken to South Ayrshire Council on their behalf.

“The local authority says a specialist bereavement contractor has looked at certain chambers within the cemetery as part of his investigatory works.

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“He will now compile a report to find out what has gone wrong, how it can be fixed and how it can be prevented from happening again.

“This report could take around four weeks and I deeply regret that families will have a continued wait.

“When the investigation is complete, work on the affected lairs must be carried out swiftly so these families can grieve in peace.

“I understand how distressing this is and any family that needs my help should get in touch.”

Ayr SNP MP Allan Dorans stressed he wants the problem to be fixed “as soon as possible”.

“I am aware of the investigation of water ingress into the burial chambers within the Ayr Cemetery extension,” he said.

“I have been kept up to date of developments by South Ayrshire Council who have engaged specialist contractors to investigate the source of the water ingress and have undertaken to keep relatives and families informed of developments.

“This is an extremely difficult and distressing time for those whose loved ones and friends are buried in this area of ​​the cemetery and my sincere hope is that this situation can be resolved as soon as possible.”

A spokesperson for South Ayrshire Council said: “Following an investigation of burial chambers at Ayr Cemetery extension, we can confirm that water ingress has been found in the 10 chambers that were inspected.

“The water found within the inspected chambers has been removed and the chambers have been sealed. The contractor had initially scheduled for 30 chamber inspections in the three week period, however individual inspections took much longer than anticipated.

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“As water was found in the first few chambers, the contractor undertook detailed investigatory works to determine the cause of water ingress.

“The cause of the water ingress is still being investigated and we are waiting on a report from the specialists who carried out the investigation. Decisions on any necessary further action will be taken when we receive the reports and know the cause of the water ingress.

“These chambers were installed by external contractors on the basis that they were watertight and airtight, and all appropriate permissions were obtained to satisfy statutory requirements. We have been in regular contact with affected lair owners and will continue to liaise with them directly throughout.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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