Winning awards is something we are growing used to in Cheltenham! It’s a great thing to be able to thank those who deliver our services and make a difference.
Recently, the Council was judged to have one of the best Cemetery and Crematorium facilities in the country by the Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities and I am not surprised! Scoring almost 100% for its presentation, care for families after bereavement and for its crematorium, the staff deserve the highest praise. From cleaners to managers, they have all played their part.
‘This isn’t like the normal Crematorium’ someone said to me recently. And they were right. Even the sound of running water echoes through the Atrium as one leaves the chapel and gives a feeling of peace and tranquility.
Peace and tranquility. At a time of great sadness and loss, knowing that an essential part of life will be concluded with kindness, care, understanding and love is a great comfort. That our staff do and it is terrific to have that recognised at national level.
But, what now? Having secured a huge score of 99.6 in the national inspection, our thoughts are turning to how we will ensure the Cemetery and Crematorium keep improving in the services we give. In discussions with staff about the future, the issue of ‘natural’ burials, sometimes called ‘green‘ burials was raised. This is a form of burial which allows the person to be placed in the ground, without having been cremated and with no embalming allowed. A special coffin can be used that helps the process, or even a green shroud made of cotton. A haven for wildlife and plants is created and loved ones might even plant a tree over, or near the grave.
New life springs from life passed. Isn’t that a wonderful thought? It is a real help for the environment too and takes us back to a simpler time.
But that is for the future.
For now, our Cemetery and Crematorium staff have a National award which will be the envy of many. Many congratulations to all of them for a great achievement.
- Cllr Flo Clucas, Cabinet member for Safety and Communities