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BBC Scotland's Eleanor Bradford
"It was a final journey none of these people expected to make"
 real 56k

Funeral Director Andrew Harvey
"The family may have moved to another area in the UK or indeed they may have passed away themselves"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 16 May, 2001, 14:34 GMT 15:34 UK
River receives unclaimed ashes
Religious service
The remains were committed after a short service
The ashes of 35 people, whose relatives never came foward to collect their remains, have been committed to the River Clyde in Glasgow.

The ashes dated from the 1950s and had remained unclaimed at a funeral director's in the city.

With a piper playing the Scottish Soldier, the ashes were taken out into the river in the SV Second Snark on Wednesday morning.

The ashes of each person, contained in biodegradable boxes, were then lowered on a pulley one by one into the River Clyde.

A piper played as the ashes were taken to the river
Each urn was covered in yellow petals, which formed a trail along the surface of the water as they sunk to the riverbed.

Glasgow-based funeral director Jonathan Harvey Limited organised the service after it had failed in its attempts to contact the families of the deceased, who died between 1950 and 1965.

The remains were committed following a service conducted by the Reverend Bill Ferguson of Broomhill Parish Church and Father Gerry Nugent of St Patrick's Church, Anderston.

Earlier, a silver hearse containing the ashes was led into Yorkhill Quay by Pipe Major James MacLean, who is based at the city's Piping Centre.

Mr MacLean played a medley which included Flowers of the Forest and Over the Sea to Skye, as the boxes, which were covered in maroon velvet, were carried one by one along a shop gangway to the lower deck of the boat.

Dignified farewell

Andrew Harvey, the chairman of Jonathan Harvey funeral directors, said the firm felt a responsibility towards the people whose ashes had been left in their care.

He said: "It is unusual for members of the bereaved family not to collect the ashes of the deceased.

Andrew Harvey
Andrew Harvey: "Dignified and personal farewell"
"However it must be recognised that there will be a number of personal reasons why this has not been possible.

"The family may have moved away or the deceased may not have had any living relatives to complete the final funeral service.

"Whatever the reason we are here to ensure that each one will receive a dignified and personal farewell."

Mr Ferguson said: "It is a mark of a civil society not just how we treat the living but how we look after the dead.

"I think this is unfinished business that we are dealing with today.

"We assume that these folks in their day had a funeral and their lives were affirmed and acknowledged.

"I think it is just basically a decent human thing to do."

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See also:

03 Apr 01 | Scotland
Appeal over unclaimed ashes
14 Oct 00 | Scotland
Ashes placed in battleship grave
23 Jul 99 | Americas
Kennedy ashes cast into sea
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