Jody Whelan says she was brought to tears when she drove past Longford Cemetery to find council workers removing sentimental items from her stillborn child's and family's grave sites on Monday, a day earlier than expected.
The Northern Midlands Council announced earlier this month it would be undertaking a clean-up of the cemetery and removing any items that did not comply with council's rules from February 25.
However the council workers began removing items a day early on February 24, with no warning or explanation as to why the clean-up was brought forward a day.
Mrs Whelan said she was planning to visit the cemetery on Monday night with her family to remove the sentimental items from her son's, brother's, father's, uncle's and grandparents' graves.
"I'm absolutely heartbroken," she said.
"I was driving into Cressy...and I saw them in fluoro vests removing everything, I was handed all my son's and dad's personal items in bags.
"I had to go and remove the rest by myself...it's wrong, to get their stuff handed back in a garbage bag is disgraceful."
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She said her family was also distraught when she informed them she had to remove everything alone without them.
The Examiner was contacted by several residents concerned about the council's day-early clean-up.
The cemetery rules state flowers can only be placed in the two holders either side of a headstone, and mourners are not allowed to place flowers anywhere else, place any other items at grave sites, plant trees or shrubs, or erect any structures.
NMC mayor Mary Knowles admitted council staff had begun removing items a day early but provided no insight as to why.
"Staff were up there during daylight hours removing things and could answer any queries people had," she said.
"The only issue is with all the extra bits and pieces [on the graves].
"I do apologise to anyone who has been distressed by this."
Cr Knowles said the council had been dealing with queries since the clean-up announcement but most were asking what was allowed and what was not.
Any items collected during the early clean-up will be kept for two weeks at the council depot.
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