GRIEVING families have been told vases which are used to contain tributes to their loved ones are no longer allowed at a crematorium.

Relatives have been shocked to discover that memorial vases at Walton Lea are now banned because they ruin the natural look of the memorial gardens.

The move has left many bereaved families devastated. Many families from Runcorn and Widnes leave floral tributes to their relatives.

Sandra Millington, who had a vase dedicated to her husband Jim, who died in March last year, said: “I’m heartbroken. I could understand it if the place was looking untidy.

“I can understand them saying the place is a natural space but all the vases are in trees.

“At this moment of the year there is no colour there and the vases add colour and it looks nice.”

A council spokesman said: "This decision is purely based around maintaining a serene and peaceful setting for all our visitors and is not a new decision as the grounds have always been managed in this way.

“We fully understand and support residents who wish to have tributes in the crematorium and this is in no way an attempt to prevent this or cause any distress.

"We usually allow additional floral tributes for a short period of time out of respect for the families. However, more recently there has been a significant number of visitors that have personalised areas within the crematorium grounds, particularly around the seasonal meadow areas and woodland walk.

"These particular places have been created as natural areas in keeping with the beautiful natural surroundings and are selected as areas for the final resting place of loved ones.

"We asked for additional personal items to be removed so that we can maintain the grounds. We have kept any items that were not removed and they can be collected before 31 January.

"We sincerely hope that visitors can appreciate our intentions and we remain committed to supporting our residents."