Springburn folk turned out for funeral of asylum seeker Ana

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Strangers attended the Springburn funeral of an asylum seeker from Georgia, known only as Ana, whose death has left her ten-year-old son facing an uncertain future.

The Church of Scotland and the Catholic Church in Glasgow arranged a special service to help the boy and his family mourn the death of his 35-year-old mum in something like Georgian Orthodox traditional style.

She is said to have been a translator who was fluent in four languages.

Dozens of local residents, including representatives from the local community council and a primary school, attended the service at Springburn Parish Church.

Ana, who was born and raised in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, passed away at her home in Springburn after a long illness.

Springburn Parish Church minister, Rev Brian Casey, said it was “heart-warming” and a true measure of local community spirit that so many people turned out to express love, faith and prayers for her son.

He described him as “the centre” of his mother’s life.

Mr Casey said: “Ana’s death is tragic and very sad but we were so glad to be able to give that Glasgow welcome to her family.

“Irrespective of people’s faith or creed, we are here to serve them in the way Christ served people of the Jewish faith or no faith,” he added.

Mr Casey was asked to organise the funeral by the headmaster of Ana’s son’s school.

The service, co-led by Father John McGrath, parish priest of St Aloysius Church in Springburn, included Georgian Orthodox Church traditions such as the recital of the Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus.

Mr Casey said: “Despite its problems, Springburn has a very strong community and we can still come together and support people in times of need.

“I am a chaplain at Ana’s son’s school and was asked if I could help give him some kind of closure because his mother’s body is being sent back to Georgia to be buried and he wouldn’t have been able to attend the funeral.

“I contacted my colleague Father McGrath and we worked together to bring the faith community of Springburn together to celebrate the life of Ana.”

Father McGrath said: “Coming together for any occasion and praying together is the deepest expression of any Christian, no matter what denomination.”

Meanwhile the Church of Scotland continues to speak out against what it calls “the scandal of funeral poverty”.

It is campaigning for an end to “the postcode lottery” of burial and cremation charges, and the introduction of state assistance for those particularly in need.