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Intrigued guests describe crematorium as uplifting and welcoming

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Photograph of Stephen Folely hand painting entries into the Book of Remembrance.
Stephen Folely hand painting entries into the Book of Remembrance.

Lea Fields Crematorium opened its doors to guests this weekend, giving them an opportunity to take an informal look around the facilities.

Beautifully manicured gardens and wild flowers decorated the walk ways leading up to and around the whole building, which is situated on Gainsborough Road, Lea.

Guests were greeted by staff who welcomed them into the main chapel and gave them tours around the building, the Garden of Remembrance and the Reflection Pool.

Chairman of the Council, Councillor Angela Lawrence attended the event and said:

“It was lovely to see the sun shining on our beautiful Garden of Remembrance and to see how the gardens are maturing and wild flowers in bloom. It was a welcoming sight for our visitors who were intrigued to look around and talk to our wonderful staff on hand to answer their questions.

Talking about death and dying is still considered a taboo subject for many but we feel it is important to engage the community in conversations, informing them of their choices. I hope everyone who attended found the day to be as interesting as I did.”

In the chapel, Stephen Foley, Managing Director and second-generation craftsman of Hilton Studio, awed visitors by demonstrating his skills with his bespoke hand painted entries in the Books of Remembrance. Stephen is part of a team of 12 craftspeople serving crematoria around the country. He said:

“The Lea Fields volumes are unique, hand painted, with gold leaf on the outside. I incorporated the Lea Fields branding and used different colours to reflect each season. Inside there is a page for each day of the year. We work with loved ones to create something very individual for them as a lasting memorial.”

One of the questions he is asked a lot is will digital memorials ever replace the painted book? Stephen responded with:

“Not in my lifetime. People love the originality, entries are permanent, families have a hand in the creation and messages are as personal as they want them to be.”
He described the chapel and surroundings as ‘superb’. Stephen added: “It is a lovely building, contemporary and set in such a beautiful place.”

Carlton Bradley, Senior Director at Cliff Bradley and Sons Funeral Directors Ltd., who also attended said:

“Lea Fields and the surrounding grounds are peaceful and tranquil, the wild flowers which are in bloom are very pretty. It is a fantastic local facility which was long overdue for our area.

“The staff here are second to none and they do as much as possible to make sure the day goes as seamless as possible. Deborah is a fantastic crematorium manager and she has a great team here.”

Nicholas Waller (67) from Saxilby saw the open day advertised on our website. He said:

“I saw the advert and I was intrigued. My wife and I have already booked to have our cremation here as we have a funeral plan in place. I always thought crematoriums would be dark and dingy but it is cleaner than a hospital. Many people may think it’s depressing to go to a crematorium and look behind the scenes, but this place is uplifting and like a breath of fresh air. With its open gardens this is a place where I would want to be remembered.  It has been fascinating, very informative and very helpful staff.”

Doreen Hancock (84) from Sturton by Stow said her husband wants to be cremated at Lea Fields. When asked why she wanted to attend the open day she said to be "prepared". She said:

“I have always been interested in what happens when the curtains are drawn, how it happens and what happens to the artificial hips. Coming here today is helping to prepare me for when I walk through the doors with a coffin. I will know what he is going through and I know it will be tidy. The building is new, pristine and it’s clean and airy, which I like.”

Megan Marton (22) of Gainsborough attended the day with her dad Alan. She said:

“I am considering working as a crematorium officer so I wanted to attend to see how everything is done behind the scenes. The open day was an opportunity for me to do this which I could not pass up. We often see the outside of the building in passing but the inside is also amazing.”

Tom Dolling (28) from Beckingham took part in one of the tours on the day. He said:

“I know one of the crematorium officers and he had spoken to us about the open day. I didn’t know anything about the process and I was quite fascinated so I decided to attend the open day. It is a new modern building and it is quite peaceful.”

 

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