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Family fury as mementoes moved from memorial bench
5:45pm Tuesday 13th August 2013 in News
THE family of rockfall victim Charlotte Blackman are 'shocked and angry' after being told by Freshwater Holiday Park their memorial tributes to her left on the anniversary of her death had been removed.
Charlotte's mother Rachel, dad Kevin and Charlotte's brother and sister, 13-year-old Mitch and Sinead, 21, came back to Freshwater on the anniversary of Charlotte's death and released butterflies and put flowers, a plaque and teddy bear on her memorial bench.
When they returned home to Derbyshire they were shocked to receive a letter from Freshwater saying they didn't want the bench turned into a shrine left to 22-year-old Charlotte, who died on July 24, 2012..
Speaking on the Jeremy Vine radio show Rachel said: "There is now a massive great big sign put there since explaining that there is danger of death and danger of landslides.
"We laid some flowers by the sign as well as on the bench."
The family chose and bought the bench here the week Charlotte died and Freshwater was happy to have it there, said Rachel.
"There are other memorial benches there where it has been put.
"We didn't put an excessive amount of flowers.
"This letter arrived just saying that it was unsightly and that 'while we are happy for the bench to remain at Freshwater we don't think it appropriate for the area around the bench to be treated as a shrine'.
"I was shocked. They basically didn't want us to leave anything down there at all.
"It was a year to the day we went down there. We released the butterflies at exactly 12.30 as that is the time the landslide occurred and then we laid the flowers.
"It was something we all felt we wanted to do.
"My husband is very, very angry and he wants to bring the bench home but I think that we should leave it there as a reminder to people what could happen - a bit of warning - although it doesn't actually say how she was killed on the bench but people will obviously ask.
"I don't think they like the idea of people asking why is this bench here, because obviously they have to explain and they are more worried about the bad publicity side of things."
Rachel said Charlotte's sister Sinead has started a petition about the country's coastline to make sure signs are there to alert people to the dangers.
"Because you don't think they are every going to happen to you so it just makes more people aware of dangers."
Scott Condliffe, general manager of the Freshwater, is quoted as saying the holiday park was 'a business, not a graveyard'.
He has said the park were happy to have the bench even though the accident didn't happen here - but it was not appropriate in a holiday park to have a shrine.
He said they left the flowers for several weeks before removing them and had kept the tributes for the family to collect.
Mr Condliffe said he felt the park had been very understanding and said families who had other memorial benches on the park did not leave floral tributes.
He added the park had kept the tributes for the family to collect.
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