A heartbroken daughter has told of her distress that a titanium rod from her father’s leg was not returned after his cremation.

Elke Hojer, a former parish councillor for Bledlow-cum-Saunderton Parish Council, requested a titanium rod that had been in her late father’s leg, from knee to ankle, be returned to her after he was cremated around two weeks ago.

Ms Hojer had previously agreed with her father, for whom she cared for for the last 10 years, that the rod would be saved and turned into a keepsake to remember him by.

However, the crematorium has failed to return the rod, instead claiming it may have been “vaporised” during the cremation process.

Ms Hojer said: “My father had a titanium rod in his leg from his knee to his ankle and he always wanted forto something to be done with that after his death, we joked about it and I suggested I could make it into a wind chime and that could be an integral part of his wake. He really liked that idea.

“After he was cremated I didn’t get the rod back – I got the staples from the coffin and I got the screws back that kept the rod in place, but the rod did not come back. The people who cremated my father would have had to unscrew the screws from the rod, so what happened to it?

“I was told it was vaporised – but if I had all the other stuff, why didn’t I get the rod back? I was also told it might have fallen out and got lost during the process.”

Steel hips, plates and screws from legs and skulls are collected after a person is cremated and sent off for recycling in Holland and the project has raised almost £1million for charity since it began in Britain in 2004.

High value metals which survive the 1000-degree cremation are then sold for use in the automobile and aeronautical industries.

Other less valuable metals are smelted down and sold for more general use - including road signs, motorway barriers and lamp posts.

But relatives are asked if they want to keep metal parts of loved ones before cremations by the centres taking part in the scheme.

Ms Hojer said: “A lot of the metals after a cremation are sent out to Holland and they get melted down for scrap – but how many people have titanium rods in their legs, and how many requests are there to have them saved after a cremation?

“Titanium is worth almost as much as gold but it’s not about money or its value, it is the upset this has caused. I’m not saying it was taken, it may have been misplaced and they are embarrassed to tell me but there are no procedures in place for when these things go wrong.

“I’m very concerned and upset. It is out of order. They only get two or three requests to get things back from a cremation a year.

“This has been going on all week – it is so distressing. It is distressing enough as it is without this problem as well.

“We were going to hang the wind chime in a tree in the garden above where my father’s ashes will be scattered.”

Elke’s father’s funeral was organised through The Midcounties Co-operative Funeralcare in Wendover.

A spokesperson for The Midcounties Co-operative said: “Carrying out the wishes of those in our care and their loved ones is our highest priority.

“We are still in the process of investigating this matter. In the meantime, at Ms Hojer’s suggestion, we have confirmed we will support an alternative arrangement which will allow her to fulfil her father’s wishes.”