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Weather proves a challenge at Hereford Crematorium and Cemetery

A new area of natural grassland, the Garden of Reflection, at Hereford’s crematorium is proving popular with families who want to scatter cremated remains, but soggy grounds caused by current weather conditions are proving a challenge for grounds men.

The small meadow area which is being left to grow naturally was created earlier this year and is becoming a firm favourite with families.

“The council’s bereavement services team has around 180,000 square metres of cemetery and crematorium grounds to maintain, as well as two closed churchyards,” said John Gibbon, the council’s bereavement services manager.

“We felt that within the crematorium’s grounds there was space for a new garden where the grass is left to grow naturally. This area is proving very popular,” added John.

The inclement weather which has struck the county in recent months has helped this garden develop quickly. However, it has left gardeners with a headache as the soggy ground and wet grass is making it difficult to keep on top of routine grass cutting within other parts of the cemetery and crematorium grounds.

Councillor Russell B Hamilton, cabinet member for environment, housing and planning, said: “The standard of care given to the crematorium and its gardens is normally very high as any visitors will know.  However since April the exceptionally wet and warm conditions have had an adverse impact on the mowing regime.  It has been impossible at times to use the mowers for fear of churning up the lawns.  This means that, sadly, we have not been able to maintain the standard of care that we ordinarily achieve.

“We know just how important it is to maintain the crematorium to the highest possible standards so we have had extra staff in to work evenings and on Saturdays.  But despite this, the wet weather has thwarted attempts to catch up. 

“Whilst it would appear the rain has come at just the right time for the new Garden of Reflection that has been left to develop naturally, it has left us with a few headaches trying to keep the cemetery and crematorium lawns as we would like them.  I can promise that we will do all we can to resume normal service at the earliest opportunity.”