Animal lovers in Gloucestershire have a new way to remember beloved pets they have lost thanks to Westerleigh Group, which manages crematoria and cemeteries all over England, Scotland and Wales.
A memorial post box has been installed at the Cotswold Dogs and Cats Home (CDCH) in Cambridge, Gloucestershire, for people to use in memory of their pets, writing cards, messages and letters.
The post box is identical to those which are being installed at all Westerleigh Group’s crematoria, to enable people to pay tributes to their loved ones, gaining therapeutic benefit from writing the messages.
Westerleigh Group, which has its head office in Westerleigh near Bristol, is one of the UK’s largest independent owners and operators of crematoria and cemeteries, with 39 sites, all set within beautifully-landscaped gardens of remembrance which provide pleasant, peaceful places for people to visit and reflect.
The idea came from Matilda Handy, then aged nine, daughter of a memorial advisor, Leanne, from Westerleigh Group’s Gedling Crematorium, near Nottingham, as a way of her still being able to feel a sense of connection to her late grandparents.
Sam Herniman, from CDCH, said: “We approached Leanne after seeing her and Matilda on Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night takeaway, talking about the memorial post boxes.
“We thought it was such a great idea and a nice thing to do, and we wanted to be able to offer the same facility to animal lovers, to help them remember their loved ones in a uniquely personal way.
“We were overwhelmed with the response we received, as Westerleigh Group’s Gedling Crematorium offered to donate a memorial post box to us, and also to make a £1,000 donation to Cotswolds Dogs & Cats Home in support of the life-saving work we do for so many animals.
“We could not be more grateful for the support and generosity we’ve had from Westerleigh Group.
“The bond between humans and their animals is truly something special, and they are often seen as just as much a family member as anyone else.
“We run a low-cost veterinary clinic and our main focus is providing a safe place for sick, unwanted and abandoned animals when they need it most, giving them the care, comfort and medical support they need to give them the opportunity of a second chance.
“But, feeling inspired by Matilda, we knew we wanted to be there for families for the whole journey with their pets.”
Katie Capel, manager of Westerleigh Group’s nearby North Wiltshire Crematorium, visited CDCH to see the memorial post box in place and present the donation on behalf of Gedling Crematorium.
She said: “Since Westerleigh Group’s first memorial post box was unveiled at Gedling Crematorium last December, the idea captured the hearts of so many people and we know that, from feedback received at our crematoria and cemeteries all over the country, people have gained considerable comfort from using them.
It’s lovely to now see this idea extend to pet owners and animal lovers, helping them come to terms with the loss of their beloved pets.”
Leanne added: “We are also pleased to be able to give a £1,000 donation to CDCH, as clearly the care and support they provide resonates with the work we do with our bereaved families.
“We hope that visitors to CDCH get just as much benefit from using the memorial post box there as we know Westerleigh Group visitors have gained all over the country.”
To find out more about CDHC, visit www.cotswolrdsdogsandcatshome.org.uk and to find out more about North Wiltshire Crematorium, and the exceptional care and support it provides to local families, visit: www.northwiltshirecrematorium.co.uk
Ends September 2023
Issued on behalf of Westerleigh Group by Empica. For further information, please contact:
Darren Bane or Martin Powell on 01275 394400 or email email@example.com