Behind the scenes at new crematorium

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On Monday the first group of mourners will gather to say goodbye to a loved one at Spalding’s new crematorium.

Three years in the planning and a year in construction, the £2million crematorium is likely to be well used by residents of South Holland.

END RESULT: Businessman Andrew Bowser outside the new South Lincolnshire Crematorium. Photo: SG121113-140TW

END RESULT: Businessman Andrew Bowser outside the new South Lincolnshire Crematorium. Photo: SG121113-140TW

Until now, they have faced the stress of a journey to Boston or King’s Lynn for a cremation service.

It was that experience that prompted two local businessmen to join forces to develop South Lincolnshire Crematorium – set in ten acres off the A151, north of Surfleet.

Property developers Andrew Bowser and Andrew Butt first came up with the idea in 2010 – leading to months of research and miles of travelling around the country visiting other crematoria.

Mr Bowser said: “We had both had pretty poor experiences of travelling to other local facilities for cremation services and we could see there was a need in the community for a crematorium in south Lincolnshire.

“That was about three years ago and it has been my baby since then.

“I have overseen every detail of it and I’m really pleased with how it has turned out.”

Research took a year, with the two partners looking at the local demographic and need for a crematorium, as well as finding the perfect site.

Mr Bowser is pleased with the final choice, which offers wide open views stretching as far as Bourne hills, yet is close to good transport links, making it easily accessible from all directions.

But it’s rural location belies the hi-tech specification of the crematorium itself, which is right up to the minute and even “future-proof” – for a little while at least.

Take the notice board where the day’s services are listed by the front entrance.

Currently it is a low-tech affair where a piece of paper can be slotted each morning – but behind it lies the wiring for when a more hi-tech option of digital screens become more financially viable.

Other 
areas are already hi-tech, with motion sensitive lights flicking on as people enter and the ability to broadcast services via the internet to friends and relatives unable to attend a service.

There’s even the option to record a service to show to others at a later date.

The chapel where services are held is a light and airy room with seating for 110 – but if more than that wish to attend a service, it can be broadcast through speakers and on a television screen in the entrance porch, connected to the chapel by acoustic double doors.

If the doors are closed, mourners in the chapel will not be disturbed by any noise created by a group waiting in the entrance porch.

Warmth is provided by underfloor heating, with the whole building set up to make the most of natural ventilation to keep it cool in the summer.

Outside there is a covered flower court to protect mourners from the elements, as well as a two and a half acre wildflower meadow and seven and a half acres which includes a memorial garden where plaques and granite cabinets for storing ashes can be installed.

There is also around 200 trees which can be used as “living memorials”.

And Mr Bowser hopes the building’s appearance will be pleasing to the people of South Holland.

It is built with red brick and traditional slate, common to many buildings around here.

Mr Bowser said: “We didn’t want to do anything out of the ordinary, we tried to fit it in with what people are comfortable with.”

And already funeral directors are making the most of the new facility on their doorsteps.

The booking office only opened a few days ago and already eight services are booked for next week.

Mr Bowser said: “We invited funeral directors along on Monday to show them round and more than 80 turned up.

“There is huge interest in the new crematorium because it makes their jobs so much easier.

“There is nothing worse as a funeral director to be sitting in a car with grieving people who are late for a funeral because you are stuck in traffic.

“This will hopefully take that pain away.”

Now he is hoping that the crematorium will be a success.

He added: “I hope very much that it helps people, that is what we set out to do.

“I hope it’s a success commercially but primarily in terms of being a good facility for the people of the district.”