Llanelli crematorium invited their local MP, Nia Griffith, to see the improvements that have been made in recent months and to discuss a number of key issues affecting bereavement in Wales.
Over £200,000 has been invested in new facilities at the crematorium since it was acquired by Westerleigh Group two years ago. This includes new chapel windows, a digital music system and a covered floral tribute area for mourners to gather after the funeral.
Nia Griffith had already attended a number of funerals at the crematorium but found this behind the scenes tour very helpful.
“It was interesting to see the actual cremation process and hear of the great care and reverence that is taken once the coffin passes from the chapel,” she commented. “I was particularly interested in visiting Llanelli Crematorium after my colleague Carolyn Harris MP had highlighted the plight of families who had lost a child then struggling with funeral costs. I was very pleased to hear that Llanelli Crematorium does not charge for children’s funerals, and I visited the special area of the grounds that has been set aside to commemorate children who have died. The death of a child is particularly tragic, and whilst we cannot take away the family’s grief, we should support them with funeral costs and a place of dignity to remember their loss.”
The upgrades have made a big difference during the winter months and have been widely praised by local funeral directors and ministers. Peter Griffiths, of funeral directors Hywel Griffiths & Sons, said:
“Westerleigh have delivered on their promises to invest in the crematorium and the improvements they have made make a real difference to the families under our care. The crematorium provides an excellent service.”
Nia Griffith was also keen to see how the crematorium cared for baby funerals, having lent her support to Carolyn Harris’ parliamentary campaign for the Government to provide a £10 million National Children’s Funeral Fund for councils to use to cover the cost of children’s funerals. Ms Griffith was therefore pleased to learn that Llanelli crematorium does not charge for funerals for children under the age of 17, a policy across all of Westerleigh’s 26 crematoria.
“We feel that this is the right approach as I think everyone appreciates that the death of a child is especially traumatic and awful. It is a small way in which we can help,” said Richard Evans, Westerleigh’s Managing Director.
A children’s garden has been created at Llanelli, to ensure that there is a distinct, private place for parents and siblings to remember in a suitable, bespoke setting.
An open day is planned for later in the year so that the public get their own opportunity to learn about cremation and to view what happens behind the scenes. Llanelli’s manager, Kevin Davies, explained:
“We like to offer families the chance to see what happens with the cremation to provide them with any re-assurance that they may need and to dispel any myths or mystery. We are absolutely dedicated to providing the best possible service to the bereaved and so welcome anyone who wants to better understand what happens after the curtains are closed.”