Landscaping work is still being carried out in the grounds of Vale Royal Crematorium, which was given planning permission in summer 2013, but a number of families are already choosing to use the facility. Clergy and funeral directors from across mid Cheshire were given a preview of the service, provided by crematorium specialists Westerleigh Group.
Barri Dodgson, of George Bell Funeral Service in Northwich, organised the first funeral at the crematorium and has a further three booked in its opening week. He said: "Im delighted with the appearance of the new crematorium, especially the chapel which is light and airy. It has been built to a very high standard and the view from the chapel down the Dane valley, with Davenham Church spire in the distance, is just wonderful. I am sure that families will appreciate having a more convenient choice in their own locality especially as it is in such a lovely natural setting."
The facility is in a surprisingly peaceful location off Shurlach Lane and the A556, with rural views across rolling fields. The 100-seat chapel has large windows overlooking a water garden and the countryside views and plenty of state-of-the-art technology to cater for services. This includes a digital sound system and television screens that can broadcast a service to larger groups who may not all fit in the chapel. There is also the ability to record a service or stream it live to mourners who cannot attend in person. Television screens inside the chapel can be used to play photographic tributes to the loved one.
Outside the chapel are grounds which will continue to be landscaped through the autumn. In the past week more than 3,000 square metres of turf have been laid, with more than 50 trees being planted and many hundreds of plants, shrubs and flowers. Lindsey Iddon, manager of the crematorium, said: "It is great to have the warm weather but it isn't ideal for the planting and so we will carry out some further planting in the autumn when it is cooler. In the meantime we will need to keep everything well watered so that it is green and manicured for the services."