Gold standard is one of three accolades for Astwood Cemetery
Astwood Cemetery has been granted an award of excellence by the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management – the third award it has received this year.
The cemetery and crematorium has secured ICCM Charter Gold standard for both its service and its outdoor work.
The ICCM gold award is given to cemeteries and crematoria which not only provide outstanding service for both burials and cremations, but also score highly in other areas such as staff expertise and grounds maintenance standards.
Staff at Astwood have been working for several years to improve all aspects of the cemetery, including the grounds which have gardens of remembrance, a garden of solace and a wreath terrace – not to mention a natural burial area. The natural burial area is managed using techniques that promote wildflower growth across the whole site, which also has bat boxes, bird boxes, mammal hides, a solar-lit brook and even beehives to encourage flora and fauna.
The cemetery has achieved Green Flag status for the second year running and its Covid Memorial Garden has also recently scooped the 'British Register of Accredited Memorial Masons (BRAMM) Bereaved Community Award' Silver Prize.
The Covid Memorial area is called the Forget You Not Garden. In its centre is a stone postbox designed to look like a beehive which offers a unique opportunity for family and friends to remember those who died during the pandemic. Visitors are invited to write messages to their loved ones on notelets made from recycled paper and infused with wildflower seeds, and then post them into the letterbox. In due course, the notelets will be planted into the garden, allowing the wildflowers to grow and become a lasting memorial.
Councillor Zoe Cookson, vice chair of Worcester City Council's Environment Committee, said: "We are justifiably proud of Astwood Cemetery and delighted to see it recognised with these awards which acknowledge that our staff go the extra mile to help the bereaved, providing a first rate service in beautiful surroundings and ensuring that they are supported throughout the funeral process right down to the last detail."