Kingston Council’s Bereavement Service received the highest national accredited standard in cemetery and crematorium services this month.
The team in Bonner Hill Road, joins one of 42 councils in the country to obtain this gold standard award under the Charter of the Bereaved Scheme.
To be considered for the Charter, local authorities must achieve the basic targets and developments in helping families and friends arranging funerals for loved ones.
Manager and registrar Howard Greenoff said: “We’re all so thrilled to receive this award. The Bereavement Services team is like a family, and come rain or shine, we’re here together working on site.
“I think the dedication and camaraderie we share helps us to deliver a quality service for Kingston residents – we treat our bereaved customers with the same care and compassion with which we would treat each other. This also means we understand what help and support our customers need to get them through a very difficult time.”
With 42 acres of cemetery space to maintain, the service is annually assessed on social and environmental qualities in order to remain a Charter Member.
The bereavement team accomplished an incredible 474 out of 485 cremations and 603 out of 619 burials which met the bespoke gold standard criteria.
Kingston Cemetery’s 53-year-old team leader, who has worked there for 17 years, said: “It is very nice to be recognised. The whole team work very hard on the grounds and to give the community the cemetery they deserve.
When asked to describe what makes working in the funeral business special, the team leader said: “It’s very rewarding to help people in their time of need and to help them through the grieving process.”
Councillor Dave Ryder-Mills, offered his congratulation to the Kingston team.
He said: “I’m delighted for the team to see their efforts recognised. The loss of a loved one can have a significant impact on our wellbeing and the team has clearly developed a ‘value-added’ service with a clear sense of community purpose that extends beyond the cemetery walls.”
Several famous people have been laid to rest since Kingston Cemetery opened in 1855, including Donald Swanson, chief inspector during the Jack the Ripper murders.
Pilot bomber Cyril Joe Barton, who posthumously received the Victoria Cross during World War II, is also buried here as his final resting place.