TRAGIC MEMORIAL BENCHES

Moderators: ritad, RosemaryH, lion queen, Crested Val

User avatar
Tintin
Posts: 54
Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2005 1:30 pm

TRAGIC MEMORIAL BENCHES

Unread post by Tintin »

What is the purpose of a memorial bench for those people who donate them?
In our case, both my parents were cremated and their wish was to have their ashes scattered in Kruger. Our family has had generations visiting Kruger, and our parents loved Lower Sabie – it was, therefore, a given to have a memorial bench placed at their favourite camp.
Our father passed in 1994 and in 1995 we had the bench erected under his favourite tree in Lower Sabie. Mr. Mabunda himself helped me with this, the agreement was that it would be looked after and maintained by SANParks. This is an important point, as our family was scattered overseas by this stage and as I travel a lot, it would not be viable for me to look after it every 6 months or so.

Our mother had the pleasure of seeing it and sitting on it with immense emotion and memories of our father. Some years later, she passed and I wanted to change the plaque to include her. At Lower Sabie, I then found that the bench had been moved next to a huge electrical box and the bench was all but falling apart, weeds clamoring over the cement foundation, the wood falling apart, one or two of the brass screws were out. It was upsetting to see this and I immediately took it up with the relevant people at that stage which, in itself was no easy task to get hold of.

It was decided by the hospitality manager at the time that it would be replaced – I could then put a new plaque on that with both our parent's names. Again the process of finding a spot for the bench and eventually it was put in place – again with the specific understanding that a note would be added internally that the bench would be looked after and maintained by SANPARKS as previously arranged.

Through the subsequent years, it has just been a nightmare with each visit – again finding the bench in disrepair, again going through the process of trying to find out who to speak to – this member has now left or that member has been transferred and the whole story starts again!
It is draining and totally disrespectful to those that donate the benches and beyond all, disrespectful to the loved ones whose names are tributed to the benches. Where is the care and honour in this?

Fast forward to February this year and I would be meeting some family members and my one sister who resides in the Netherlands. Before arriving I sent an email to the regional General Manager requesting that the bench is checked before we arrived. I received a reply saying that it will be checked to see WHEN the bench was placed as after three years they do not look after it – ignoring all I had said in my letter and of course the bench had been there for longer than 3 years!
A special moment of sitting on our parent's bench was ruined after I spent over an hour trying to find it with the camp manager who had absolutely no record of the benches and where they were placed and by whom. Nothing. The bench had been moved yet again and by the time we found it, again weeds crawling all over it, broken wood, cracked cement. I could just weep and did through my anger.

The camp manager quickly tried to make it look better by getting the weeds pulled out and assured me that I must deal directly with him in future. I told him I need this resolved once and for all, he had no record of any of the benches and the rest of the benches ALL looked in a terrible state. He showed me the new look benches which looked like extruded plastic, very ugly and certainly not in keeping with the ambiance of the park – I would never want that as a memorial bench to my parents!

Had we known the upset and continual struggling over this, we would never have donated a bench. It is just appalling how it has been handled with no sensitivity or honour. Kirstenbosch has memorial benches that are looked after, no doubt with a much smaller staff capacity and yet they are able to do so. Why can SANParks not do the same?

I have contacted the camp manager [who was very specific that I deal with him] via email – it is almost 3 weeks and I have not even had a response from him. I have sent the email yet again and copied in the entire communications team at SANParks – in the hope that SOMEONE can have the decency to get back to me.

This is important enough not to give up on and if there are any other suggestions of WHO I can contact and take this further, please let me know.

Best
Shirli
'Earth is the insane asylum for the Universe'
User avatar
Elsa
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 40157
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:31 pm
Location: Tinley Manor Beach

Re: TRAGIC MEMORIAL BENCHES

Unread post by Elsa »

Shirli, I am so sorry you are having this problem with the upkeep of the memorial bench.
Please would you send a mail to [email protected]. or [email protected]. and possibly even
[email protected] if you still need further input.
Take time each day to be with nature
User avatar
Tintin
Posts: 54
Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2005 1:30 pm

Re: TRAGIC MEMORIAL BENCHES

Unread post by Tintin »

Elsa wrote:Shirli, I am so sorry you are having this problem with the upkeep of the memorial bench.
Please would you send a mail to [email protected]. or [email protected]. and possibly even
[email protected] if you still need further input.


Thank you for the suggestion Elsa - I will do that.
Many thanks.
'Earth is the insane asylum for the Universe'
User avatar
Tintin
Posts: 54
Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2005 1:30 pm

TRAGIC MEMORIAL BENCHES ?

Unread post by Tintin »

My posting on the above topic has been locked?

I cannot update on it nor can anyone make any comments.
Why has it been locked, please? This is important to us and anyone else considering memorial benches.

Please unlock it so that I can put updates.

Thank you.
'Earth is the insane asylum for the Universe'
User avatar
Elsa
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 40157
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:31 pm
Location: Tinley Manor Beach

Re: TRAGIC MEMORIAL BENCHES ?

Unread post by Elsa »

Tintin, please see the Rules of the Service Related Feedback Forum

Please send me a Private message when you are ready to post a response and I will unlock it for you.
Take time each day to be with nature
Locked