An official ceremony to mark the opening of Cam Valley, a new crematorium to serve Uttlesford was on Wednesday 12 September, with leading religious and civic leaders attending to lend their support.
The service will be led by the Right Reverend Alan Hopes, Bishop of East Anglia, who was joined by councillor Arthur Coote, the deputy mayor of Saffron Walden as well as representatives from across a range of beliefs and faiths in an act of dedication to the new facility.
Cam Valley crematorium opened in January this year and has already held almost 500 funerals from across the region. The crematorium is the closest choice to Saffron Walden, Royston and Haverhill as well as many parts of South Cambridgeshire and is becoming the natural choice for these areas.
Richard Evans, managing director of Westerleigh Group, operators of the crematorium, said: “Bereaved families have certainly appreciated the extra space and time that we are able to offer. The crematorium is set in more than 13 acres of grounds and all of the facilities have been designed with space and comfort in mind to ensure that families have everything they need to have an individual private funeral in a wonderfully natural setting.”
The 100-seater chapel offers views across the countryside and has been equipped with a digital media system, that gives access to an infinite choice of music, alongside a traditional organ. The chapel is also able to cater for all religions and beliefs. Hourly intervals are allowed for each funeral to avoid the congestion that effects other crematoria and ensuring that each service is afforded the dignity that is required.
The bishop will be joined by a range of religious and secular leaders all playing a role in the service. This included readings from rev Alex Jeewan of the Saffron Walden and Villages Team Ministry, rev John Goddard of the Saffron Walden Baptist Church and rev Caroline Rodden of Saffron Walden URC. Debra Heywood, a local civil celebrant, will also be contributing to the service with live music and a soloist singer. The service concluded with addresses from Richard Evans, CEO of Westerleigh, and Councillor Coote, before a final prayer and blessing from the Bishop of East Anglia.
Claire Butcher, manager of Cam Valley, said: “We are very grateful for all of the support from local funeral directors, officiants and clergy who have helped to ensure that the service is tailored to local needs. It is always so re-assuring to hear what a difference the new crematorium has made to families in the area and that we are delivering on our promise to provide the best level of care so that we can make that very difficult day a little bit easier.”
Sean Martin, head of operations for Peasgood and Skeates Funeral Service added: “It’s much less busy than other crematoria and everyone commented on how wonderful the setting is, wrapped in glorious countryside in a tranquil, quiet spot. We also allow an hour between funerals so that people have the time to have an unhurried, dignified service.”