The plastic urns would have been emptied and crushed had it not been for stickers bearing the names of the deceased and funeral dates.
Yesterday (Wednesday) the Times & Speaker put out an appeal for relatives of William and Mary Ann Hunter to come forward and within hours staff at Newtown Waste Solutions were able to hand over the ashes to the couple’s grand daughter.
The containers were discovered as rubbish was being sorted on a conveyor belt at the depot in Albert Street. They were in a skip which was taken there by a company after a house clearing.
Nothing was known about the couple except that William died in 1997 and Mary Ann nine years later.
However, it’s since been established that they lived in the Jerviston area of Motherwell.
Newtown director Martin McLinden said: “The woman was, understandably, upset when she came to the depot to collect the ashes. However, everyone here is delighted we have been able to return them to the family.”