Grieving mum ordered to remove memorial garden she made for son who died aged 16

Emma Collins said the tribute had offered her comfort as she grieved her son Daniel’s death in a quad bike accident.

A grieving mother was left disgusted when she was told by her housing association to remove a memorial garden she had built for her teenage son.

Emma Collins created the tribute to her son Daniel, who died in a quad biking accident on his 16th birthday in 2010, on a small piece of land outside her ground floor flat.

Building the memorial garden, she said, had been “very comforting” and “means everything” to her.

“After Daniel died, my mental health was very bad and I didn’t go outside, but the garden gives me somewhere to sit and I can chat to people as they walk past,” she told.

She said she regularly received compliments on the garden.

However, the garden was deemed obstructive by the Aster Group who owns the block of flats in Portland, Dorset.

Emma, 48, was so upset by the order from the Aster Group to dismantle her poignant tribute that she started a petition.

So far she has had 300 people supporting her cause.

The 14×6 foot garden is filled with flowers, gnomes, lights, and a picture of Daniel in the centre. It also has some of his ashes scattered there.

Emma, 48, said she started working on the garden last August and had finally finished it this month.

The space had been “an absolute state” before she started working on it, she said.

As well as clearing broken glass and rubbish, she had dug up all the tree roots as she prepared the memorial.

She added that Aster Group “didn’t object to that” work.

Now she tends to the garden on a daily basis, clearing out weeds.

But all her efforts looked to have been in vain when she received the order to clear the garden.

Emma said she had felt “absolutely disgusted” at the call from Aster Group.

She explained that she was told the “wasteland” was a communal area and needed to be cleared.

However, Emma argued the ground “had not been touched for 30 years and nobody else has any reason to go onto it”.

Meanwhile, the support she has received from those backing her petition had been “overwhelming” she said, adding some people have even offered to help her buy the land.

This has strengthened her resolve to fight to keep the garden, she insisted.

A spokesman for Aster Group apologised for causing Emma “distress” by asking her to remove the memorial.

He added that while they understood customers may want to add “personal touches to communal areas” they have a “responsibility to make sure that they are kept clear so they’re safe and everyone in the building can enjoy the spaces”.

Aster Group said they would contact Emma “to talk further about how the area is used and help, where possible, to find an alternative solution.”