The act of writing and putting words down on paper is one of the ways in which people can find comfort during bereavement.
When Gedling Crematorium, near Nottingham, which is part of Westerleigh Group, installed a memorial post box on their grounds before Christmas, little did they know about the overwhelming sense of appreciation by the community near and far that it was going to receive.
The post box allows families and friends to write and post messages, cards and letters to their loved ones in ‘Heaven’.
Gedling’s memorial post box was unveiled at its Christmas Remembrance Service in December 2022 and within the first few weeks, over 100 letters were posted in the post box with over 1,000 people liking the crematorium’s post on Facebook regarding its installation and hundreds, from across the country, leaving a positive comment.
Owing to the success of the post box at Gedling Crematorium, Westerleigh Group is now making plans to introduce the post box at all of its crematoria, including Mercia Forest Crematorium and Arun Crematorium, which open this summer.
The original idea came from Gedling Crematorium’s Memorial Advisor, Leanne Handy, whose father passed away in 2003 and mother in 2017 and whose young daughter Matilda had said she wished she could send birthday and Christmas cards to her grandparents.
Leanne said: “I’m thrilled by how well the post box has been received and I feel very proud. We’ve had amazing comments from members of the local community who have used it.
“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.
“Knowing that a similar post box will soon be installed across the other 38 Westerleigh Group crematoria to serve wider communities is beyond belief. Matilda and I couldn’t have wished for a better result and are delighted that many more bereaved people will be able to benefit from it in a similar way.”
Gedling site manager Giulia McDonough said: “Like all Westerleigh Group’s sites, it’s our aim to have a very positive presence within our local communities, and I am delighted that the Letters to Heaven post box seems to have captured the imagination – and interest – of many people.”