Two sisters have hit out at Dacorum Borough Council after their late parents’ sentimental belongings stored in the garage were binned.
Kelly Shearson-Lewis, 39, was helping her younger sister Pamela, 29, move from their late parents’ flat in Fletcher Way, Hemel Hempstead, to a studio flat in Gadebridge over the Easter break.
But when they went to collect their family’s belongings from the garage in nearby Bathurst Road, they were shocked to discover that it was completely empty.
On phoning Dacorum Borough Council, they were told that they had authorised a garage clearance, which meant their mum and dad’s treasured sentimental possessions had been thrown away.
The family was left heartbroken after their mum and dad, Kevin and Christine Shearson, 64, died just hours apart on the same day in May last year.
Mr Shearson died from complications due to his multiple sclerosis and his wife was struck down with a severe chest infection, but the devoted couple who were inseparable in life were united in death as they were cremated in a double casket.
It’s really upset the whole family. We were a bit hysterical when we first found out.Kelly Shearson-Lewis
In the days following their deaths, the grieving family moved some of Mr and Mrs Shearson’s belongings to the garage with the intention of sifting through them when the pain was less raw.
Among treasured items were family photos and slideshows of Mr Shearson’s trips to Africa, as well as several eight-track recorders.
Kelly, who lives in nearby Grovehill with husband Rikki and their five children, said: “It’s really upset the whole family. We were a bit hysterical when we first found out.
“It should never have happened. When we rang them, they just said there was nothing they could do. These are things we’re never going to get back.
“I just wouldn’t want it to happen to anyone else.”
Kelly said that Pamela was in rent arrears in regards to the garage but had come to an agreement with the council about starting up a payment plan regarding the unpaid rent, which was to be set up after she moved to her new home.
Andy Vincent, Dacorum Borough Council’s group manager for housing, said: “Whilst we cannot comment on an individual’s case, in situations like this we make every effort to contact family members, over a number of months, as we are of course sympathetic to the sensitivity of such circumstances.
“We would never dispose of items without considerable effort to make contact – including repeat letters, telephone calls and emails.
“If we are unsuccessful in contacting the family and no-one connected with the garage has made contact with us, and garage rent arrears are building up, we have no alternative than to start clearance procedures.”