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SORRY, WE'VE LOST YOUR DAD; Council chiefs don't know where Edward is buried.

Byline: NORMAN SILVESTER EXCLUSIVE

GRIEVING Grace McEwan has launched a heartbreaking search for her father after cemetery bosses lost his coffin.

Grace, 52, fears callous robbers may have dug up the coffin, dumped the body and sold the valuable casket to unscrupulous undertakers.

She kept the grim news a secret to protect her mum, Anne Canmore, who has since died and been laid to rest in the empty plot where her dad, Edward, was buried.

Retired office manager Edward was interred at St Kentigern's Cemetery, in Lambhill, Glasgow, in 1979, after his death at 78. Grace, from King's Park, on the south side of the city, said: "I have been trying for 20 years to get some answers. At the time, we decided to say nothing because we didn't want to upset our mother.

"If she had known her husband's coffin was missing, it would have broken her heart."

The first clue all was not well came just a few months after her father's death, when the family ordered a gravestone and discovered there was no record of their father being buried in the cemetery.

Grace complained to Glasgow City Council cemeteries department. They tested the site of the burial and could find no sign of a coffin.

However, they told the family they could put up a stone at the spot where they thought he was buried.

Grace decided not take the matter further because she did not want her mum to find out, so she had the gravestone installed.

But, secretly, she feared her father's grave may have been robbed.

In the late 1970s, a number of people in the Glasgow area were convicted of selling used coffins to undertakers.

When her mother died in the early 1990s she was to be buried alongside her husband. But when the grave was opened their worst fears were confirmed. There was no sign of Edward's coffin or his remains. Since then, Grace has been desperately trying to find out what happened to her father's body.

In 1979, when Edward died, the cemetery was run by the Catholic Church, but they transferred ownership of the site to Glasgow City Council in the 1980s.

Both organisations now admit they do not know where Edward is buried. And the council say there may be other families in the same situation.

In a letter to Grace, Lucille Furie, of the council's cemeteries department, said: "There is little likelihood of ever resolving this matter and it may be that you will have to learn somehow to accept you may never locate the burial site of your late father.

"It has become increasingly apparent that various anomalies continue to exist within the cemetery archive records for which I can give no explanation."

Grace said: "We have been told by the council that my father was probably buried elsewhere and we have got the site wrong.

"Members of the family who were at the graveside when my father was buried are 100 per cent certain we have the right site. As far as we are concerned, someone stole or moved my father's coffin after he was buried."

A council spokesman said they inherited the cemetery records from the Archdiocese of Glasgow and had tried to help Grace find her father's grave.

He said there was no evidence coffins had been stolen or gone missing.

However, the council admit there are many discrepancies in the cemetery's burial records.

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Glasgow said they no longer had any records relating to St Kentigern's Cemetery and added that there was no longer anyone employed in their offices who had any personal knowledge of the burial site.
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Dec 17, 2000
Words:610
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