Getting the word out about our Natural Burial Grounds
Allow us to introduce Sarah Wickham, joint landowner (alongside her partner Dai) of our latest candidate burial ground in Pembrokeshire. We've been so impressed with Sarah's enthusiasm, research, creativity and hard work, combined with a deep understanding about the needs of bereaved families that we asked her if she would be able to apply all that she was bringing to the Pembrokeshire project to the other natural burial grounds we manage. We are delighted to report that she said yes...
For those of you who already use our Natural Burial Grounds, or may have a family member or friend buried in one of the Natural Burials, I’m sure you know just how peaceful and beautiful our burial grounds are. But not everyone realises what is available to them and what they can have when planning a funeral. There are so many choices these days and we are all different, so it is possible to arrange a burial, funeral or even a scatter of ashes that suits each of us. It’s not an easy time when you are grieving, but knowing what is available so you can arrange a send off that is right for your family can make planning a funeral that little bit easier.
This is where I come in, it is my job to let people know what we can offer and just how inspiring our Natural Burial Grounds are. I hope to show you how families, officiants and funeral directors can arrange things in the easiest possible way; that includes letting you know what has been successful before, what little touches meant a lot, how to keep things environmentally sustainable. I also want to hear about what you think we could do better.
As a funeral celebrant I have conducted funerals at Cardiff and the Vale and Usk Burial Ground and I can honestly say they have been some of the most inspiring, loving and peaceful funerals or ‘celebrations of life’ I have had the honour to officiate - not to mention views that always amaze me when I arrive. I do have to take a moment to stop and take it all in, and you always see something new you never noticed before. However, it’s also this moment that gives you a chance to remember those you love without any interruptions. That is one of the reasons I love Natural Burials, they are so gentle. They are also very personal because you get to decide what happens on the day.
One of the things I am most excited about is letting people know what we can offer, because sometimes this is not relayed or can get misinterpreted, and we want to make sure that everything is right for you. I have always felt that you should be able to say goodbye your way and it's the personal touches that make all the difference. If they loved walking their dog in the open countryside and that is why you have chosen to have a natural burial, you can bring their dog on the day (one of our Natural Burial in Aylesbury even offers pet funerals).
If they were a member of a cycling club, why not come on bikes in club colours? An archery club arranged for a volley of arrows with ribbons attached, classic car club members have arrived in a convoy of club cars; the hunt has arrived on horseback with a pack of hounds, and motorcyclists have rumbled in en-masse. If you want a simple, no fuss natural burial surrounded by nature it’s important you know we are here. If you are arranging a funeral for someone who not only loved the countryside but also history, there are some amazing historical monuments at our Hundy Mundy and Cothiemuir Hill natural burial grounds. The great thing is that every one of our sites is unique and I am looking forward to getting to know all the ways that make them special so I can pass this onto you.
I have been lucky enough to work with Leedam Natural Heritage both as a celebrant conducting funerals but also as a landowner exploring the option of offering Natural Burials in Pembrokeshire because it is something I am very passionate about. I can’t wait to bring you more news on that as things progress, as hopefully I will then be a custodian myself. While we await the planning decision, I still love walking my two dogs around the 'natural burial field’ as we call it and can’t believe how lucky I am to have such beautiful views of the Preseli Mountains which I want to be able to share with others.
While my journey started many years ago as a chapel attendant in the bereavement sector it has lead me to this point today. I can’t wait to start working with the team at Leedam including our landowners and custodians, as well as all the people behind the scenes that work so hard to help families have the Natural Burials they want.
If you have any suggestions and would like to have a chat about our Natural Burials let me know, that is what I am here for.
Stories and thoughts from the Leedam camp.
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