AN EAST Lothian woman “couldn’t believe [her] eyes” when she saw a memorial seat at Inveresk Cemetery had been turned into a “dumping place”.

Carol O’Connor said that the wooden bench – with two plaques in memory of her mother and another well-known Musselburgh woman – was covered in old flowers, Christmas wreaths, plants, soil, paper and broken glass.

Mrs O’Connor had gone to put flowers on the grave of her mother, Catherine Thomson, in the old part of the cemetery last Thursday.

She also checked on the bench as a previous one, in memory of her late stepfather Jack Thomson, had been vandalised in the past and had to be removed.

She said that, instead of using a skip just along from the seat, people had “thrown” the items on the bench itself.

She returned the following day, armed with gloves and a brush, to clear the seat and put the discarded items in a corner of the cemetery.

East Lothian Courier: The memorial bench after it was clearedThe memorial bench after it was cleared

Mrs O’Connor, who was brought up in Musselburgh but now lives in Haddington, said that a couple of bins in the cemetery had been taken away and she had contacted East Lothian Council to ask for more.

She said: “I know a lot can be blown by the wind but I would appeal to visitors to the cemetery not to leave waste on the seat, as it is disrespectful.”

Mrs O’Connor’s mother and her husband, who lived on Champigny Court, were well known for winning gardening competitions during the Musselburgh Festival.

Mrs Thomson passed away 17 years ago, four years after her husband.

A council spokesperson said: “Skips are provided for cemetery visitors to use to dispose of any waste. It is concerning to hear that benches and other memorial features of a cemetery have been used in this manner and we encourage people to act appropriately when tidying and renewing flowers by using the skips provided.”