The APSE Solutions team recently visited Lelley Fields Crematorium in Holderness. Directly run by East Riding of Yorkshire Council, the site is the first crematorium to open in the region for 25 years. Emma Taylor, APSE Senior Consultant, provides an overview of the visit.
On 28 September 2023, myself and Andy Mudd, Head of APSE Solutions, made the journey to East Riding. On arrival we entered the site via the one-way system. With ample parking spaces available, The car park and areas immediately surrounding the building were well manicured whilst the wider site appeared to be maintained with a more natural appearance.
Christine, the Crematorium Manager, conducted our tour of the facility. Both Oak and Birch Halls have independent waiting areas, which have heated seating for guests. The two halls were light and airy, with tranquil views across the landscape through well designed large wall length windows. The natural wood furnishing was a naturally beautiful finish, very calming and warming. The combination of lighting ensured this space felt relaxing and comforting.
The halls are fitted with the Obitus media system which provides families with access to millions of music tracks and offers the opportunity to have photo’s and home videos shown. It also allows the service to be recorded and/or streamed live to the internet if that is what the family require.
The crematorium offers a range of services including a delivery only service, a ‘Goodbye’ service which is a fifteen-minute slot with a fifteen-minute buffer, and a ‘Full’ service which is a one-hour slot with a thirty-minute buffer to ensure that families do not feel as though they are on a conveyor belt. Evening and weekend services are also available on request, subject to staff availability.
We discussed how the service might develop over time and were told there were several potential plans which may be implemented over the coming decade. These include the opportunity to introduce a wake area and permanent weekend service provision.
The crematorium has a viewing room which can be used by families wishing to see the coffin being placed in the cremator. This may fulfil religious needs and cultural or personal wants. The room is multi-purpose and can be used as an intimately sized service hall if needed.
The crematory has been fitted with state-of-the-art equipment including a refrigeration facility for any overnight storage. This can also be used to assist the community where necessary without incurring additional charges from funeral providers. Other equipment includes large capacity cremators and trolleys which can accommodate large deceased.
Christine explained that all cremations produce some metal residues and that all families using the crematorium are asked to give permission for these to be recycled. Where permission is given, the metals are collected and sent to R. S. Bruce in Sheffield for recycling. Any proceeds generated by this activity will be split with part being used at the crematorium to benefit all visitors – for example a sculpture. However, the bulk of the proceeds will be distributed to local charities to benefit the community.
All ashes which are scattered at Lelley Fields are combined with ‘Return to Nature’ – a ‘supercharged’ soil compound which neutralises the high sodium and calcium in ashes to ensure they have less effect on the environment.
The grounds cover over 4 hectares allowing expansive views of the surrounding farmland; making for a stunning final resting place. The grounds have been landscaped to provide a variety of new habitats to encourage wildlife to use the site. The crematorium has recently worked with a local farmer and local sheep sanctuary to mow the meadows and the hay is used at the sheep sanctuary as feed and bedding.
The majority of the site is made up of flower and grass meadows. However, hedgerows have been reinstated, shrub beds and nature ponds installed and over 300 trees have been planted at the site too. Some of these trees form the basis of a memorial arboretum which allows families the opportunity to dedicate a tree in the memory of their loved one. There are kerb side memorial plaques, elegantly designed and presented along the footpath that lead to the memorial trees. The trees are large Corten steel constructions, and the protective rust coatings tied all the natural colours and elements in perfectly. The large tree holds 640 leaves when it is full.
There is another smaller tree nearby which has beautiful multi-coloured leaves. This is dedicated to all children under 18 years of age. There is also a small park style area with hand carved woodland animals and benches with woven living willow tunnels for play, which are sure to bring an element of distraction and smiles to any small child.
The grounds and memorials are not just for those who were cremated there, local families are welcomed to add plaques in memory of their lost loved ones should they wish, as it is recognised this is a beautiful and heartwarming place that locals can visit irrespective of whether their loved ones are buried or scattered.
The crematorium plans to continue working with local schools - bringing them back to nature and encouraging student development through environmental school trips. There are plans to expand the hand carved wooden animal sculptures across the whole of the site, potentially paving educational walkways for children.
Lelley Fields Crematorium are working with the local Registrars of Births, Deaths and Marriages who hold appointments at the site every Friday. Although this is currently one day per week, they aim to provide a community hub for local residents to be able to access this service three days per week.
This will clearly be a welcome asset to the local community, offering a warm and meaningful send off for loved ones. No detail has been forgotten, there are blankets in waiting areas for the young and elderly for colder months. Books and toys to keep younger children occupied through difficult times and a coffee and biscuit is always on hand for members of the community, if they just want to visit or walk the grounds in memory of loved ones. Dogs are also welcomed at Lelley Fields Crematorium.
I think a lot of this excellent work can be associated with Christine and her staff here at Lelley Fields Crematorium. We look forward to seeing how they thrive and grow in the future.
• To find out how APSE can help your cemetery and crematorium services, please contact Emma Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org