THE council has apologised to a grieving widow and her daughter for the distress caused by the felling of a tree around which her late husband's ashes are scattered.
Mandy Macfarlane went to lay flowers at the tree in the gardens of Grimsby Crematorium on the third anniversary of her husband Andy's death.
But when she got there she was distraught to find an empty space where the tree once stood.
North East Lincolnshire Council has announced that a replacement tree will be planted this autumn, but Mandy is upset that no one from the authority told her the tree – which had a significant amount of dead wood – was going to be removed.
Mandy, 44, of Cross Coates Road, Grimsby, said: "The crematorium stopped us putting ornaments around his plaque but we never dreamt that the tree would go.
"I went to put some flowers down and there was nothing there, just an empty space.
"I was shocked and disgusted. No words can describe how I felt."
As reported, Andy, 43, a cleaner at Binns in Freshney Place, died from Legionnaires Disease in September 2008, just days after returning from a family holiday in Turkey.
His ashes were scattered around a tree in the crematorium gardens – the same site where his father Charles' ashes were scattered three months previously.
The tree is regularly visited by Mandy and her three daughters Zoey, Sarah and Claire.
Mandy said: "There are two family members under there and yet no one has got a letter saying they have removed the tree."
Zoey, 22, said: "I was disgusted. My dad and my granddad are under there. There's a bench next to the tree and we like to sit there knowing that dad was under there.
"They could have at least put something in the paper so it wasn't such a shock when we went down there."
Councillor Alex Wallace, portfolio holder for environment and strategic housing, said: "Following a tree management survey undertaken last year, a number of dead or diseased trees have been removed. This particular tree had a significant amount of dead wood and was felled in May this year.
"It is always disappointing when we have to fell trees but, as we explained to the family, a replacement tree will be planted this autumn. Due to the dry weather we have not been able to complete this earlier.
"We apologise to the family for any distress caused and we will look in to way in which we can inform families in the future when trees have to be felled."