A NEW crematorium in Northwich was praised by religious and civic leaders at its official opening ceremony.
The Bishop of Chester, the Rt Rev Dr Peter Forster, led the dedication service and was joined by representatives from across a range of beliefs and faiths.
At the service, on September 28, the Bishop spoke of the importance of the facility to the community since it opened in July last year.
"Church leaders have been unanimous in their praise of the new Vale Royal Crematorium: for its setting, design, and the friendly professionalism of the staff," he said.
The Rev Barry Jobber was minister at the crematorium's first service and gave a reading at the dedication ceremony, along with the Rt Rev Mark Davies, The Bishop of Shrewsbury, and the Rev Andrew Taylor, the Church of England’s Ecumenical Officer.
The Rev Chris Pritchard, from Hartford Methodist Church, led prayers alongside the Rev Jacky Embrey, who had also played a key part in organising the event.
Ian Lewsey, a funeral celebrant, provided a more secular tone with a heartfelt poem about the role of the crematorium entitled The Service.
He added: "This wonderful chapel in its glorious surroundings is already proving very popular with families and all of us who conduct services here.
"It has a very warm and friendly atmosphere."
Funeral director Damien Dodgson, from George Bell Funeral Services, said: "We believe Vale Royal Crematorium is a superb asset to the district.
"The building, surroundings and excellent staff combine to provide an unrivalled service.
"Feedback from our clients reiterates our very high opinion."
Richard Evans, managing director of Westerleigh, crematorium developer and operator, said: "We owe some thanks to the architect and builder but the people who have really built this service is our wonderful team led by Lindsey Iddon and their great union with local funeral directors and clergy.
"All pull together to try and ensure that everything is right for the family and that the funeral runs smoothly."
Lindsey said: "It is hard to believe that we have been open for just a year especially as the gardens and grounds look so well established.
"We will hold our 1,000th funeral this week which, to us, is the real acknowledgement that this new service is a valuable new option for families and we just hope that we can make that very difficult day a little bit easier."
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The image above shows (From Left to Right)
Lindsey Iddon, Crematorium Manager
Rev Andrew Taylor
Rev Jacky Embrey
Rev Chris Pritchard
Richard Evans, Managing Director
Rt Reverend Peter Forster, Bishop Of Chester
Cllr Harry Tonge
Cllr Charles Fifield
Cllr Paul Williams
Cllr Helen Weltman
Rt Rev Mark Davies, Bishop Of Shrewsbury