• Independent celebrant Fiona Illingworth has been inside the new Horam crematorium for the first time and describes it here.
What does a funeral celebrant look for when attending a crematorium?
Around the fringes of Wealden there are several crematoria ranging from Victorian buildings to modern ones; so I was excited to see what Wealden would construct for the first crematorium in the area to service the needs of families at one of the most difficult times of their lives.
The new, low-lying modern building is situated just south of Horam on the A267. It is approached through farm land with sheep grazing along a landscaped driveway to a large car park.
The services are to be held mostly on an hourly basis, including Saturday mornings, so that families feel that they have a private space and do not feel rushed.
On arrival, it is a short walk from the car park to the warm, modern waiting room. It has a lovely feel of serenity and calmness and means that you don’t have to wait around in the rain or the wind.
There is a short, covered walk across the standpoint for the hearse to the large airy chapel that can seat 120 people comfortably, with ample room for others to stand.
Large windows down the left hand side look over a serenity pool to a landscaped area and the whole feel is one of light and peace.
The way the ceiling is designed means that if there are only a few mourners, once they are seated at the front of the chapel they do not feel they are in a large cavernous space and it brings an intimacy to the front of the chapel.
The soft muted colours also give a feeling of warmth and light, which will help people feel more relaxed and at ease.
In the flower court outside, which is covered, there is extra standing room available and a screen so that the service can be relayed outside.
State of the art screens mean that we can offer families the ability to have photographs or video played during the service and the Obitus system offers a large and varied range of music. Particular pieces of music can be ordered in especially for a service.
I look forward to meeting the staff who will be working there, as they are an integral part of making everything run smoothly.
Judging by the care that has been taken in designing this building, to offer everything our clients will need, I have every confidence that they will be there to help make our lives, as celebrants, easier too.
This crematorium will offer an excellent venue for celebrants to be able to help the families they work with to provide special bespoke services reflecting the personality and beliefs of the person whose life they are celebrating in a calm, beautiful, pastoral setting that will help those families at a time when they are in greatest need of comfort.
Fiona Illingworth is an Independent Celebrant offering tailor-made funeral services to her clients. Her contact details are: firstname.lastname@example.org.