A new memorial post box which allows people to send ‘Letters to Loved Ones’ to those they have lost has been installed at North Wiltshire Crematorium.
The move follows the success of a similar initiative at one of the crematorium’s sister sites, Gedling Crematorium, which proved very popular, with over 100 letters and cards being posted within the first few weeks.
North Wiltshire and Gedling crematoria are part of Westerleigh Group, one of the UK’s largest independent owner and operator of crematoria and cemeteries, with 37 sites in England, Scotland, and Wales, all set within beautifully landscaped gardens of remembrance which provide pleasant, tranquil places for people to visit and reflect.
The response to its first memorial post box in Gedling was so positive from people from across the country that the group has now decided to introduce them at all its sites over the coming weeks and months.
The memorial post box initiative was the idea of nine-year-old Matilda, daughter of Gedling Crematorium’s Memorial Advisor, Leanne Handy, whose father passed away in 2003 and mother passed away in 2017.
Leanne said: “It all came about because Matilda was always saying she wished we could send Mamma and Grandad birthday and Christmas cards for them to read. She was four when my mum died, and never met my dad.
“Now the post box is in place, I am so pleased that local people are using it, and taking some comfort from it, as another way of feeling connected to their loved ones.
“We were thrilled by the positive response to the box and I feel very proud. We’ve had amazing comments from members of the community who have used it, about the comfort they have gained from writing letters and cards.
“Matilda and I were even more delighted when we learned that Westerleigh Group was going to install similar boxes across all its crematoria so that people all over the country will be able to use them.
“The memorial post boxes are available for anyone to use, regardless of whether you have held a service for your loved one at any of our crematoria or not.
“The memorial post boxes are available to absolutely anyone who wants to write a message to someone who’s no longer here.”
Matilda’s idea saw her appear on the BBC One Show, on Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway and even receive an invite to Number 10 Downing Street for an International Women’s Day reception, where she was presented with a Point of Light award by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
Katie Capel, Manager at North Wiltshire Crematorium, said: “Having seen the response to the first memorial post box at Gedling Crematorium, I am pleased to have installed something similar here at North Wiltshire, enabling our bereaved communities to have access to this wonderful asset too.
“Feedback has shown that the process of writing a letter, or perhaps a birthday card, to a lost loved one has already brought therapeutic comfort to many people.
“Now, the communities in and around our crematorium can do the same thing.
“No address or stamps are required on any of the letters or cards.
“This is just another way in which we can provide emotional support to local families and is part of the uniquely personal exceptional care that all Westerleigh Group’s crematoria are committed to deliver.”
For more details about memorial post box at North Wiltshire Crematorium, visit: www.northwiltshirecrematorium.co.uk/letters-to-loved-ones
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