The sun shone for the Open Day which was held indoors in the Crematorium Chapel with several outdoor displays in the cemetery grounds.
The event started with an appearance of two stunning white horses and carriage trotting down the main drive. The horses Merlot & Vidam were resplendent in their finery and drew crowds from inside the chapel and from the public to watch them. They remained in the public area for several hours so many people had the pleasure of seeing them up close.
We were also privileged to be able to watch beautiful white doves being released on several occasions during the event..the Friends Heritage Walking Tour had the honour of a dove release as they set off for their walk. Again a privilege to be able to watch this spectacle at close hand.
The car park had several limousines and hearse on display. Luxurious vehicles for people to have a close look at.
In the cemetery grounds an open grave was available with bereavement services staff on hand to explain the procedure and how graves are dug, prepared and made ready for burials.
The St. Helens Ranger Service was also on site with their Year of the Environment display, an interesting interlude from all the other displays.
Inside the crematorium chapel, several partnership funeral directors were available to talk to the public and answer all questions about funerals, funeral planning etc.
St.Helens Council departments were represented including the Registrars Office, Healthy Living Team, Suicide Prevention Team, Amparo, Willowbrook Hospice and Tell us Once teams. The Citizens Advice Bureau was also represented with staff on hand to answer all questions. A local stone mason displayed a selection of headstones and memorials
Last but certainly not least The Friends of St. Helens Cemetery had a display stand showcasing what they do!
Previous projects and on the day launched the new fundraising appeal to provide a special area in the cemetery which is designed to help children cope with bereavement. A one hour taster Heritage Walking Tour proved very popular with several of the participants promising to come back in the summer for the full tour.
The day was also a very special day when we opened and revealed a beautiful wooden gazebo donated by The Friends group and erected in an exclusive children and infants burial section in the cemetery. Th plaque at the gazebo just says it all 'All our welcome to come inside to sit and rest a while Donated by Friends of St.Helens Cemetery May 2019 '
The day was a fantastic success , 292 visitors, 27 others in attendance (participators) and 19 Bereavement Services Staff.
I think we'll do it all again next year! See you in 2020.