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South Essex Crematorium raises £8,000 for charity recording life stories of hospice patients

PUBLISHED: 07:00 14 November 2019

Mayor Cllr Michael Deon Burton joins staff from the council's bereavement service to present the cheque. Picture: Havering Council

Mayor Cllr Michael Deon Burton joins staff from the council's bereavement service to present the cheque. Picture: Havering Council

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South Essex Crematorium's specialised metals recycling scheme has raised £8,000 for charity.

With permission from families, metals recovered from cremations at the site in Ockendon Road, Upminster, are recycled and all the money raised is given to bereavement-related charities.

This year, the funds have been donated to The Hospice Biographers, a nationwide charity that trains and mentors a growing network of specialist volunteers to record on audio the life stories of patients in hospices who are facing the end of their lives.

The recordings are for patients to record memories and messages in the way they want, to leave for their families and friends after they have died.

Barbara Altounyan, founder and chief executive of The Hospital Biographers, said: "Every story is valuable. We listen with care, allowing individuals to reflect on their lives and help them to create a legacy for their families."

The specialist recycling scheme is run by the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management.

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Mayor of Havering, Cllr Michael Deon Burton, said: "We're very thankful to all the families who give permission for us to recover metals such as titanium so we can recycle them and through the scheme, help to provide valuable support to local residents and charities."

The crematorium also raised £8,000 last year using the scheme. All those funds were donated to the Alzheimer's Society's Singing for the Brain scheme, which helped deliver a varied programme of vocal, rhythmic and gentle physical exercise and dance, along with songs from different eras and styles.

Back in 2017 the hospital was able to raise £5,000 for Havens Hospices through the recycling scheme.

And the year before, in 2016, staff from Rays of Sunshine Children's Charity received a cheque of £4,337 thanks to money raised through it.

The crematorium celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2017, and continues to offer a range of bereavement services alongside burials and other functions.

Its peaceful gardens were also handed a Gold award in this year's London in Bloom competition.

London in Bloom is a campaign and competition where London boroughs, communities, residents and businesses can work together to improve their environment to make them greener and cleaner places to live, work and visit.

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