£5 million new Cannock crematorium ready to help celebrate life

A £5 million crematorium built on a former coal mine opens Monday with its own Spotify-style music streaming service and multi-media system to play video tributes.

The newly-completed Cannock Chase Crematorium in Heath Hayes
The newly-completed Cannock Chase Crematorium in Heath Hayes

The 12-acre site, in Heath Hayes, Cannock, includes the “funeral equivalent” of music streaming service Spotify and can accommodate 140 mourners, with more who can watch the service from screens in the waiting room.

However the site will initially only be open to 30 mourners at a time in line with Covid guidance.

A multi-media system allows families to make music choices, show photographs and play videos. For those unable to attend, the service can be live-streamed or recorded.

Manager Jo Walker

The facility, run by Horizon Cremation, is set on an old open coal mine workings which were filled in during the 1970s.

It has been built amid a shortage of crematorium services in Cannock. The nearest sites are Bushbury Crematorium, in Wolverhampton, which is about nine miles away, and Stafford Crematorium, in Stafford, about 12 miles away.

Crematorium manager, Jo Walker, said: “We offer a refreshingly different experience. A funeral is, after all, a celebration of life, so families need to have comfort, space, time, the technology to bring a service to life and the detailed attention of a dedicated team who care.

"But we also recognise that some family relationships are complex, and it is important for us to respect all family choices.”

The memorial garden at the newly-completed Cannock Chase Crematorium in Heath Hayes

The crematorium is next to another cemetery being built, which will be separately run by Cannock District Council.

Liam Bennett, assistant manager said: “We are a new generation of crematoria and we take our social responsibility very seriously.

"Local people have accommodated us building the facility for many months, now we want to give something back to the community.”

In recognition of the mining heritage of Cannock, the waiting room features a display depicting the mining history of the area.

Manager Jo Walker, pictured at the front, alongside her team Dan Freeman, Liam Bennett and Millie Grimley

All working practices will be managed to reduce the carbon footprint of the crematorium, solar panels and heat exchange greatly reduce energy usage, the owners said.

Local charities will also benefit from the crematorium’s involvement with the industry wide metal recycling scheme.

The first beneficiary of the funds raised will be South Staffordshire Cruse Bereavement Care, a charity supporting bereaved people in the Cannock, Tamworth, and Lichfield areas.

The ceremony hall at the newly-completed Cannock Chase Crematorium in Heath Hayes

The landscaped gardens at the front of the building have been named The Fair Lady Memorial gardens after the name locals use to refer to the adjacent Coppice Colliery which closed in 1964. The gardens are open 365 days a year for local people to enjoy.

Speaking of the gardens, Jo said: “We know that for many families choosing a lasting memorial tribute to someone special is an important way for them to remember and grieve and The Fair Lady Memorial Gardens offer such a different, natural space for a memorial.”

Covid restrictions do not allow a public open day, so this will be held later in the year.

Any local people who would like to look round the buildings are invited to email info@cannockcrematorium.co.uk to make an appointment. Anyone wanting to visit the gardens and grounds can do so from Monday. The gardens are open from 9am to 8pm seven days a week.

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