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Memorials in cemeteries  

The right to erect a memorial is provided as part of the purchase of the Exclusive Right of Burial.

If you purchase a lair, you are entitled to a memorial of your choice. As the memorial is your property, it is your responsibility to maintain this.

There is no requirement to erect a memorial, or headstone, at a lair if you do not wish to do so.

Before the memorial is erected, the memorial mason must obtain permission from us.

All memorial works carried out within our cemeteries must be by stonemasons or monumental sculptors registered under the British Register of Accredited Monumental Masons (BRAMM).


Memorials must be constructed of natural stone or terrazzo and must not contain any wood, plastic or glass. 

All inscriptions are approved by the Council.

We do not permit:

  • wooden crosses
  • copes
  • railings
  • fences
  • gravel
  • corner stones

Planting is allowed, at the head of the lair, with prior permission from the Council. 

Floral tributes

We remove funeral flowers that are placed on a grave 3 weeks after interment. We may leave them for a further week if they remain sightly.

We may remove memorial wreaths at our discretion.

We remove Christmas wreaths from graves and dispose of these at the end of January.

Plaques or trees

There are no areas for memorial plaques or trees in any of our cemeteries. You may only place plaques on an existing grave.

Trees may only be planted on woodland area graves.

Safety inspections

We carry out inspections of all memorials in our cemeteries and churchyards to ensure they are safe for all.

Inspections are also carried out before a grave is excavated for a burial.

Trained members of staff carry out an initial visual inspection, then hand test the memorial to a maximum of 25kg of pressure.

We keep a record of the reasons for failed inspections.

If a memorial fails the safety inspection, we will label it as unsafe. If it is considered a significant risk, we may also stake and tie the memorial, lay it flat or trench it into the ground.


If you wish to have a memorial repaired, you must contact a registered memorial mason. This ensures that the work carried out is to the appropriate standards.  

Please contact Bereavement Services for details of masons operating within North Ayrshire.

Alternatively, we can have your memorial permanently made safe. Depending on the condition and size of the memorial, North Ayrshire Council can either:

  • lay it flat
  • trench it into the ground (a third of the stone will be below ground level)

Benches in Cemeteries

Unfortunately we no longer permit private benches to be installed within our cemeteries.

Some older private benches are having to be removed due to poor condition or because they are located in areas allocated for graves, to ensure people can be buried in their preferred resting place.

However, the Council will install benches at suitable locations within cemeteries to allow families and friends the options of a place to sit and reflect, where they may also choose the option of installing a plaque to remember a loved one. This can be arranged by contacting the Council.

If there are any locations in cemeteries where you think it would benefit from the Council installing a bench, please let us know and we will consider your request sympathetically. Please note, due to the aforementioned issue regarding space and suitable locations, not all requests may be granted.

Thank you for your understanding.

Contact Bereavement Services

General enquiry


01294 310000

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