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

Notices at Walton Lea Crematorium appeared before Christmas warning people who had a memorial vase that they would not be allowed from January 6 because it ruined the natural look of the memorial gardens.

But it has left those who have those vases devastated.

Sandra Millington, from Old Hall, 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 but we went the other day because I wanted to take my own memorial before they removed them and it looked absolutely beautiful as a lot of people had left flowers over Christmas.

“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.”

Warrington Borough Council’s website earlier this week still stated that vases surrounding the Book of Remembrance Room for floral tributes were available.

And the note left before Christmas said families and friends could still leave floral tributes around the garden, just not in vases.

“Why do I want to leave them on the ground with no water when I can put them in a vase were I know where they are going to be?” added Mrs Millington.

“I did write to the council and had an acknowledgement to say they would look into it but haven’t had a response.

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."