Whatever profession, location, age or gender there is no doubt at all that the lives of all of us in almost every corner of the world will have had their lives affected by the Covid-19 Virus and the Pandemic which followed. Indeed, our lives here in the UK are still being impacted some nine months after the first Lockdown in March 2020. There is no doubt that 2020 will be a year that is remembered in History, for the tragedy of so many people losing their lives to the Virus, including many brave front line NHS staff and other key workers. 2020 will also be remembered by the many, many great examples of people going above and beyond to help others and numerous examples of how Technology came to the rescue in so many ways, enabling business meetings to take place remotely and families to stay in touch by using one of the many platforms that enabled video conferencing.
In normal years the Christmas Services are well attended and the opportunity is often taken to distribute cheques to local Charites, but this year of course was different. James Crossland and the Team at Obitus did a fantastic job in recording individual services at each of our sites which were then broadcast and available via a link on each of our Crematoria’s Websites. Thank you Obitus and thank you to the Clergy and Celebrants and our site Teams who organised and participated in the wonderful services that were very meaningful. They brought great comfort to so many Bereaved families at Christmas, a time always difficult for those who have lost close family members during the year.
The CEO of The Westerleigh Group, Roger Mclaughlan, opened each broadcast and welcomed everyone to the Services, outlining some of the challenges that 2020 had brought. He paid tribute to the NHS and other key workers and also recognised that many people had gone above and beyond to help others and urged us all to be kind to each other over the coming year.
Each of the Christmas Services were different as indeed they are each year. All were well attended by people logging in and, in fact, in excess or 11,000 people logged onto the Services in total and the number of appreciative letters and cards received at our crematorium offices was remarkable – a true testimony to the success of the virtual services.
A very popular part of the organisation of the services was that when families were invited to attend the virtual service, the letter contained a Memorial Tag that could be returned to the Crematorium concerned and placed on the Christmas Tree by staff. 1000’s were returned by families with their cards of gratitude for the efforts that we had made. It was interesting that many people told us that this year they could attend the Christmas Service for the first time as they have not been able to attend in person for various reasons in the past.
We all hope of course that this year, Christmas 2021 we will be able to hold our Christmas Services as usual but I think that we will also be making them available again on-line so that as many people as possible have the opportunity to join in.
Facultatieve Technologies (FT) with 145 years of experience in cremation is the international market leader in the design, construction and maintenance of cremation and filtration equipment.