Over 200 people turned out at St Helens Cemetery and Crematorium over the weekend, as St Helens Council’s Bereavement Services hosted an open day for the first time in 25 years to help raise public awareness on the cremation and burial services available in St Helens.
As part of the national ‘Dying Matters Awareness Week’ (8-14 May), the open day was an opportunity for members of the public to meet with the Bereavement Services team, local funeral directors, stone masons, Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) and Friends of St Helens Cemetery group, to ask any questions they may have – and to encourage people to talk more openly about dying, death and bereavement.
Visitors were also given a guided tour behind the scenes of the
crematorium, which opened in 1962, as Bereavement Services staff dispelled the many myths surrounding cremation ceremonies – including ash contamination, a specific person needed to hold the service, and the coffin going on to be instantly cremated once it goes through the blue curtains.
St Helens Council’s Bereavement Services Manager, Sonia Neighbour, said: “With the theme of this year’s Dying Awareness Week being ‘what can you do?’ – which focuses on getting people more active in planning ahead of death, and to help support those who may need it in times of grief and bereavement -we decided to host an open day to ease any fears about end of life issues.
“Planning ahead gives people a chance to talk to organisations that can provide information, advice and guidance on a wide range of issues which can help you plan for your own future, and the future of loved ones.
“It’s been really touching to read all of the positive feedback left from visitors, with many commenting on how it has put their mind at ease, and that it was far from dark or depressing.
“Given its success, I’m sure it won’t be another 25 years until the next one.”
To contact St Helens Council’s Bereavement Services, call 01744 677405.