More Swedish visitors check up on the best natural burial
Leif Lidholm, Manager of the Parish Cemeteries in Falkoping, a town in western Sweden about 75 miles from Gothenburg, the second city of Sweden visited Clandon Wood Burial Ground with a study group of thirty people from the Department of Cemeteries and Property Management.
The study tour took the group to a variety of cemeteries all around London. Their areas of interest were the various approaches to burials in the UK from the traditional to the natural burial. There are very few green or natural burial sites in Sweden which meant that Clandon Wood was of particular interest as an award winning burial place.
Christina Lawson, our Manager, who is Swedish, started the tour with a short presentation in the pavilion describing the concept and success of Clandon Wood as both a burial place and a nature reserve.
She was joined by our Head Groundsman, Gareth Hurd who took the group on a tour of our two meadows to view our approach to maintaining them whilst promoting wildlife.
They answered a variety of questions from how we arranged funerals, to the management and care of the site. The group had many questions and was especially interested in the traditional way the meadows were looked after, the continuing care we offer families and advice offered on end of life planning.
Hopefully Leif Lidholm and his group will be able to incorporate what they have learnt in their development plans for new natural burial sites in Sweden.
At half mast
As Belgium mourns we can again do little but show sympathy to our European neighbours and respect for those who died in the attacks in Brussels.
Maybe the other balloon released at a funeral in January reached Sweden
As part of their study tour of English church yards and burial sites Chief of Department Anna- Karin Helgesson accompanied by her assistant Rebecca Svensson and twenty five other people from the Parish Cemetery Management in Vasteras the sixth largest city in Sweden (which is 60 miles west of Stockholm) visited Clandon Wood Natural Burial Ground yesterday .
Clandon Wood Business Manager Simon Ferrar and Senior Groundsman Gareth Hurd conducted a tour around the meadows and facilities and answered the many questions on the visitors’ interests in finding out how an award winning natural burial ground is operated and the practical work caring and maintaining the meadows , horticulture and wildlife as well as the important work of caring for families of the bereaved and advising of end of life planning.
Anna- Karin Helgesson and her compatriots will be taking back our experiences so that they can guide their discussions and decisions on how to care for burial sites and funeral planning in the future in Sweden.
Clandon Wood news from Norway
At a burial at Clandon Wood on a very windy day at the end of January, two young children each launched a tagged balloon as part of the ceremony of remembrance of their beloved departed Grandmother.
Just the following day they received a message back from Norway to say that one of the balloons had landed there – a distance of 1100km. So the ceremony was broad cast far and wide in express time!
The Mayor of Guildford raises our Green Flag at Clandon Wood
The Mayor of Guildford, Councillor Nikki Nelson-Smith visited Clandon Wood Natural Burial ground to officially celebrate the award of the Green Flag for this year 2015/2016 and raised the flag on our entrance flagpole.
The award handed out by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy recognizes and rewards the best parks and green spaces across the country.
A Green Flag flying overhead is a sign to the public that the space boasts the highest possible standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent facilities.
We are also proud to have won the 2015 Bees Needs Award (supported by DEFRA and the National Pollinator Strategy) for providing food and a home for pollinating insects.
Why not visit Clandon Wood Natural Burial and see for yourself and experience the peace, the fauna and the flora on our Surrey Hills reserve.
Music in the meadow event Guildford Fringe 2015
On Sunday 12 July 2015 Clandon Wood was fortunate to be invited as one of the ten extraordinary venues to host productions for Guildford Fringe 2015 www.guildfordfringe.com which features diverse music, comedy and drama events throughout the month of July.
The sun was shining all week long leading up to Sunday and then we were threatened with rain for the whole event.
Although cloudy but warm, the rain fortunately gave way to sunshine just at the last minute as our first act began.
Initially deterred by the weather, only a scattering of visitors were actually in place for the 2pm start but when the sun came out more. and more people arrived, laden with picnic baskets, chairs and rugs. Eventually over one hundred people enjoyed the rich annd mellow sounds of our guest performers.
All the musicians played on the deck of our beautiful glass pavilion to the relaxed but enthusiastic audience and everyone commented upon the calm and affable atmostphere.
Performers all gave their time freely for the benefit of the Cherry Trees Respite Care Home for children and young people www.cherry-trees.co.uk who are our neighbours in East Clandon.
A huge thank you to our seven acts who were;
Guitarist and folk singer Majella Yorston- www.majellayorston.co.uk
Guitarist and singer Mike Brown – www.crystalclearfs.com
17 year old saxaphonist Daniel Garel – www.soundcloud.com/daniel-garel
14 year old singer-guitarist Esmee Etwell
17 year old guitarist-song writer Cara Mahon - Youtube Video
Rosie Butler on violin
Our thanks also to www.fireflyvenues.com for supplying the liquid refreshments – the firefly is a licensed musical venue in the heart of Guildford
Our guests were very generous in their participation and their applause. Their donations along with voluntary donations and the proceeds of the raffle raised over £380 on the day for the Cherry Trees Respite Care Home.
Midsummer day - Sunday June 21st
On Midsummer Day – Sunday June 21st – Father’s Day we will be watching the sun rise over the East meadow with a special ceremony hosted by Emma Curtis.
You are very welcome to come and join us at the pavilion at 4.15am ready to greet the sun on the longest day of the year. Bring a flask of coffee!!
Later the same day you can come and make flower mandalas and garlands, or write messages of remembrance on paper leaves to hang on an oak bough.
Our lovely face painter Karen will also be joining us, so come along for a lovely reflective and hopefully sunny day on the anniversary of the official opening of Clandon Wood.
Woodland burials dedicate the Green Belt to green burials
excerpt from The Times, 22nd May 2015
“This week I went to a woodland burial ……. at Clandon Wood in Surrey, voted Cemetery of the Year at the Good Funeral awards.
For a start, traditional cemeteries are overflowing: London’s are expected to be full up in 20 years, a deadline I hope to miss. But if you ever attend a burial in a natural setting you won’t want it any other way.
We followed the wicker coffin, which swished the meadow grass as it was pulled on a cart. we scattered rosemary and flowers on the shallow grave, which will soon be covered with plants again. The rirtual felt deeply English: a certain lack of sentiment and the comfort we took , as we cried our tears, in our native soil.
One mourner had a daughter in law my age who was buried there: her children love to come here to pond – dip and climb her tree.
Body sowing is a perfect use of the green belt. Death would protect it : a place to visit and not to destroy.”
Mothering Sunday - 15th March
It’s official; spring is well and truly on the way. It’s wonderful to see the snowdrops out, the crocuses appearing and that lovely yellow flower, the daffodil making an appearance, together with some slightly warmer days and a few bees gradually emerging.
Of course, the onset of spring also means that Mother’s Day or Mothering Sunday, whichever one you refer to, is also almost upon us.
Mother’s Day, or Mothering Sunday as it is known in the UK and Ireland is traditionally a day to show our love and appreciation to the many and wonderful mother’s around the world. The ancient Greeks and Romans both celebrated Mother’s Day dating back as far as 250BC, so it’s been around for a very long time and not just something invented by florists and card manufacturers.
In the UK and Ireland Mothering Sunday has traditionally been celebrated on the fourth Sunday in Lent since the 16th century. In other countries around the the world such as the USA where they celebrate Mother’s Day as opposed to Mothering Sunday, it takes place on the second Sunday in May. In one or two countries it’s held on International Women’s Day, which is always on the 8th March.
Regardless of the date, we all acknowledge that Mother’s Day or Mothering Sunday depending on what part of the world you live in is an important day for us all. It can also be a poignant and difficult time for those who have lost their mother’s or in deed for those mothers who have lost their children. In that situation it is likely to be a day for quiet reflection rather than one of a celebration.
Flowers are of course an important symbol associated with Mothering Sunday and this year we are inviting families to come and join us for a bulb – planting spree. We are creating a bulb walkway on site and felt that this special day would make in ideal occasion for us to get started.
We understand how hard these landmark days can sometimes be so come and join us to plant some bulbs and for a cup of tea and a friendly chat. Come and join us from 11am to 3pm. We know how special our mother’s are.
Funeral poetry and tributes for a loved one
Sometimes it’s hard to find the right words to say at a funeral. Do you read a poem, talk about the person that has died, play a song in their memory? Many funerals include all three and may start with a special poem. If you would like to read a poem which one should you choose and where can you find some inspiration? We hope that the links and poems here will provide you with some help.
Poetry is often read out at funerals and at Clandon Wood, we have heard a variety from the slightly obscure to the more popular. Each one has been chosen with care and it is a lovely way to say goodbye to a loved one or a dear friend. There are many wonderful poems around whatever your faith or beliefs, modern or traditional there is something for everyone. We have provided a small selection for you here including one from our very own Fran Hall whose poem was recently read out at a funeral here. We hope you like it, we think it’s quite special.
Another brilliant website is the Much Loved Charity, in addition to providing you with ideas for readings and poetry it provides you with the opportunity to create an online tribute to the person you have lost. It’s easy to set up a tribute page and then you can invite friends and family to add photos, words, music even video to the site you have created so that you can share memories and special moments with all who knew the person. It is an entirely free service that provides you with an avenue to express your feelings and can help all of those who have been affected by the loss.
Under a Soft Blanket of Fallen Leaves by Fran Hall
Under a soft blanket of fallen leaves,
safe in the hush of the whispering trees
I have come home.
My time here on earth is now done,
all the noise and the clamour, the joy and the pain,
the powerful life force that drove me onwards
has slipped away into the quiet of eternity,
and I am at peace.
From now on, I will dance through your memories
threading thoughts of love through your heart.
The pain of loss will gradually ease, and the sadness will lift.
the days will be lighter, and the nights not so long,
for I am still here.
When you walk through this place, you will feel me
in the gentle touch of the breeze on your face,
in the sunlight dappling the forest floor,
in the murmur of the branches high above you,
I am all around.
I have returned to the place from whence I came,
to the elements that created me.
The earth that gave me the life I so loved
has now welcomed me back to her,
to be at one with all her beauty.
Here, under my blanket of fallen leaves
I have found my resting place.
I have come home.
Copyright Fran Hall
I’d like the memory of me to be a happy one.
I’d like to leave an afterglow of smiles when life is done.
I’d like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways,
Of happy times and laughing times and bright and sunny days.
I’d like the tears of those who grieve, to dry before the sun;
Of happy memories that I leave when life is done.
Do not stand at my grave and weep
Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there, I did not die.
Mary Frye, American poet (1904 – 2004)
He is not lost our dearest love
He is not lost our dearest love,
Nor has he travelled far,
Just stepped inside home’s loveliest room
And left the door ajar.
Death Is Nothing At All
Death is nothing at all,
I have only slipped away into the next room,
I am I, and you are you,
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still,
Call me by my old familiar name,
Speak to me in the same easy way which you always did,
Put no difference into your tone;
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect, without the shadow of a ghost on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was; there is absolutely unbroken continuity,
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am just waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner.
All is well.
Henry Scott Holland
We will be running a poetry competition in the New Year. If you would like to take part please keep an eye on our website for further details.
The sound of music
What music would you like played at your funeral?
The dilemma of what music to chose for a funeral can often be quite a task for some families. Choosing exactly the right music that you feel is suitable for the person that has died can be tricky, especially if more that one of you is trying to make the choice. Keep it simple. You don’t need anything too complex or indeed too long. If you are choosing a hymn or song for everyone to sing to, make sure it’s something the congregation will know – or if you have the finances or appropriate friends, get a choir to join in.
People often ask, “How much music should we have?” Many choose something for the start, a piece in the middle for quiet reflection, and a piece at the end. At the end of the day it’s your choice but you might also want to consider those who will also be attending the funeral. Aunt Joan, may not know the words to ‘Bat out of Hell,’ by Meatloaf and you may not give two hoots that she doesn’t but if a number of elderly friends and family relatives are attending you might want to consider another option unless you are happy singing it on your own!
Sometimes there are disagreements about what might be deemed appropriate or inappropriate depending on the age of the person that has died and also that of the family members left behind. Unless you are really organised, have booked a funeral plan and written out your last wishes, including your music choices, then it’s the rest of the family who makes that choice. So, if you really hate the very idea that your funeral will start up to the sound of ‘Dancing Queen by ABBA,’ (a perfect choice for some) or ‘The Flight of the Bumblebee,’ by Rimsky Korsakov, (very appropriate for a place like Clandon Wood, positively buzzing with bees this year,) then discuss it with your family first and write it down in your funeral wishes.
Basically anything goes with music. There are no hard and fast rules. At Clandon Wood we hear all sorts of wonderful music played at funerals. ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow, ‘ is a popular choice and we have also heard ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,’ a few times. Live music and choirs are also very welcome and sound wonderful. There are plenty of talented musicians out there who will play and or sing something lovely and it need not cost a fortune. You could probably find someone to play the guitar and sing a favourite song for £75 upwards.
Most places these days will play music at a funeral usually in the form of a CD or transferred to a laptop via a USB memory stick or on a music platform like iTunes. It’s advisable to provide original CD’s as some copied ones will not always play on a system. At Clandon Wood we like to receive the music at least 3 days before hand so that we can check everything works properly and ensure that everything runs smoothly on the day. It’s important to let whoever is playing the music know what order you wish to have everything in. This is often mentioned in an Order of Service.
We also have a projector screen in our glass pavilion and can play slide shows as part of the service. This works better in Power Point format or a file of images together that can be played as a continuous slide show on a laptop. You can also give these to us on a USB memory stick or if you have the technical know how you can send it to us over the Internet via DropBox. Again it’s essential that we receive this at least two or three days in advance to give us time to check everything is working properly.
Fore some useful tips and advice on funeral music check out this great website Final Fling.