The parents of an eight-year-old girl who died from cancer are heartbroken after being ordered to stop putting mementos on her memorial bench – after five years of doing so.
Little Ava Scott lost her life in 2013 and in the wake of her death loved ones placed a plaque in her memory on a bench overlooking a green where she learned to ride her bike.
Mourners have used the spot as a heartfelt shrine to the much-loved child over the past five years by leaving mementos like teddy bears, flowers and photographs.
However, last week Ava’s shocked parents, Janine and Alex Scott, received a “hurtful” letter saying they had “no right” to place items on the bench.
The letter was sent by a solicitor on behalf of Butts Green Management Company Ltd, a group of residents who take charge of day-to-day management of the estate in Warrington, Cheshire.
The management company, which, as residents, Janine and Alex are part of, say it’s their responsibility to keep the area in “good order” and “in accordance with good standards of management”.
Shockingly, a number of mementos left at the bench by well-wishers, including a plant and the letter ‘A’ carved out of wood, have already been taken away.
Janine said: “It was such a huge shock, some residents have appointed themselves as a management company of the estate but none of us know much about it and we don’t have a say.
“One told me ‘you cannot have a shrine to your daughter’ – it was so hurtful.
“I spoke to another resident on the management company who said ‘we are looking to get the plaque removed’.
“They all live on the estate and have never come to me to ask about the bench, they just have all of it removed.
“One man asked me ‘how did she die?’ I don’t understand how people can be so heartless.
“This has made us all so upset, I struggle every day as it is.”
Following Ava’s death from Ewing’s Sarcoma in September 2013, Janine got permission from the management company to place a plaque on the bench.
Since then many who knew the little girl have enjoyed visiting the memorial, which is next to a green, and leaving mementos to her, particularly around anniversaries.
Janine and Alex, who have nine-year-old, son Joe, say some of the items that have been removed have not been returned to them.
The letter she received last week, from LMP Law, said: “We have been informed that a memorial was placed on the development and has since been removed.
“We understand that you believe your membership of Butts Green Management Company Ltd provides you with the right to place items on the green.
“However, please note that your membership does not grant you this right.
“Nor do the terms of your lease allow you to place items on the green.
“We understand that you would like to preserve your daughter’s memory, however, our client is unable to allow you to place and keep items on the green.”
Butts Green Management Company Ltd work in partnership with Revolution Property Management, another company, to maintain the area where the bench is located.
A spokesman said: “Revolution Property Management is appointed to take charge of the day-to-day management of the estate by Butts Green Management Company Ltd, which is controlled by the leaseholders.
“Butts Green Management Company Ltd has an obligation in its schedule to… keep the whole of the reserved property in good order and free from litter in accordance with good standards of management for the residents.”