Distance No Problem For Sarsfield Memorials

In the last few weeks Sarsfield Memorials have completed some orders for memorials in Liverpool’s cemeteries on behalf of clients who live far from the city and even on different continents. Despite the distances, we have still been able to complete the orders with efficiency and received wonderful feedback from satisfied clients.

Liverpool's cemeteries

Earlier this week the Liverpool Echo featured the heartwarming story of Carol Hisken, who died aged 78 last year in Aberdeen, She had moved there from Liverpool at the age of five after the death of her mother, who was buried in Everton Cemetery. When Carol visited her mother’s grave in 2015 she was beside herself to find there was no headstone.

Carol’s final wish was that her mother’s grave be appropriately marked and that her ashes be interred there when she passed away herself. Sarsfield have been pleased to help Carol’s daughter with this, installing a foundation and black granite ogee headstone that has inscriptions paying tribute to both ladies. Despite Aberdeen being 350 miles from Liverpool, we were able to conduct the whole ordering process smoothly by telephone and online.

Although there is a Perth in Scotland that is seventy miles closer to Liverpool than Aberdeen, it was Perth in Australia where we had another long distance customer. This time it was for a headstone at a cremation plot for a lady in Anfield Cemetery. Her daughter contacted us online and explained she would be home for a few weeks only and really wanted to be there when it was installed and her ashes interred. Again, we were able to complete the process and have the memorial ready for when she was back in Liverpool. She has kindly left a review on Google for us which says “We all couldn’t of been more happy with the service they provided us. Such an excellent team, Ursula was such a caring lady would definitely recommend her.”

Our next piece of long distance work is for a lady who now lives in Holland. Her mother’s grave in a Liverpool cemetery has never been marked but we have begun the process of installing a memorial there. Again, we have been able to do everything online in respect of the customer choosing the design and inscriptions.

Sarsfield Memorials have now been in operation for 75 years, with Ursula being the third generation to run Liverpool’s oldest family owned monumental mason business. We rarely advertise, relying on customer recommendation and reviews to gain clients. You can be rest assured from reading our reviews that we are trustworthy and make the process easy for you, wherever you are in the world.

If you are looking to install, renew or repair/renovate a memorial in any of Liverpool’s cemeteries please contact us. Regardless if you live in Liverpool, England or Liverpool, New South Wales, we will be more than happy to discuss your requirements and provide a free no obligation quote.

One of Our Latest Baby Memorials

Getting commissions for baby memorials are among the hardest tasks a monumental mason can face. It requires us to show all our compassion and attentiveness to devastated parents, coupled with knowledge and experience. The aim of this is to provide an everlasting tribute to a life that was so short.

baby memorials

This year Sarsfield have installed a new headstone in Liverpool’s Allerton Cemetery for a client whose precious baby boy was born sleeping in May 2021. We worked with the family to come up with a cost effective and simple but bespoke design. Hopefully, it will bring them comfort when visiting his final resting place.

The memorial is a standard ogee shape with curved top, made from black granite. The etched epitaph above the baby’s name is a simple one, saying “Always loved, never forgotten”.

What makes this memorial stand out though is a colour laser etched lion cub, sat above the inscription. Advances in technology have made this process a very straightforward one, allowing us to add bespoke images to memorials that are treasured by families.

The headstone has been complemented by a kerb set which has been filled by blue chippings. In this case, the kerb set is a smaller size than many others you will see, as it is covering the grave space of a baby’s coffin. The grave plot though is a regular size, so the size of any kerbset  can be changed in future.

At Sarsfield Memorials we have a wide range of baby memorials available. We have been a family run business for 75 years and will work with you at a pace you are comfortable. We remain attentive to your needs and will not carry out any work until you approve the final design. Please contact us and we will be happy to discuss your requirements and provide a free no obligation quote.

SARSFIELD FOUGHT TO KEEP ANFIELD CEMETERY OPEN

Back in the late 1960s, Liverpool Council announced plans to stop selling new grave plots at Anfield Cemetery, the largest in the city. They never went ahead however, with Sarsfield Memorials being very vocal in their opposition to such a move.

In November 1968 a report was presented to the Parks Department stating that there was not enough open space in the city. With the cemeteries account running at a deficit, it was recommended that the provision of new grave plots should be focused on Allerton and Everton cemeteries. Remaining space at Anfield Cemetery could then be converted for recreational use. One of the factors taken into consideration was the rock beneath Anfield Cemetery, which made graves more difficult to excavate.

Terry Sarsfield, who was then secretary of the Merseyside branch of the National Association of Master Monumental Masons, criticised the move. He told the Liverpool Echo on 6th January 1969 that there was sufficient land to provide new burials for twenty years. Dismissing the council’s concession that existing graves could still be opened for interments, Terry pointed out that some plots would be full but people would still want to be buried in the same cemetery as their family members.

Two weeks later, Terry went further with his criticism. He had a letter published in the Echo on 20th January 1969 asking if it was the eventual intention to remove all memorials and convert the whole cemetery to an open park. Terry also dismissed the suggestion that rock was a justification to justify the action. He pointed out that it only took half an hour more to excavate a grave there and that as Anfield’s losses were far smaller than four of the other five city cemeteries, yet the council intended to deprive itself of much needed income.

The only non critical element of Terry’s letter was his noting that the special burial provisions for Mohameddan and Chinese graves would be  transferred to Everton Cemetery. However he finished the letter with one last swipe, saying that no action had been taken to investigate the staining of graves peculiar to Anfield, which he believed was down to industrial fallout.

Liverpool Council pressed ahead with their plans, seeking an Act of Parliament which also included stopping the sale of new graves at Kirkdale and Toxteth cemeteries. They eventually performed a u-turn however. Today new graves continue to be made availaable at Anfield which is one of the largest municipal cemeteries in Europe.

Sarsfield Memorials Free Quotations Update

At Sarsfield Memorials we have always been happy to provide free no obligation quotations to anybody who makes an enquiry. Due to unprecedented rising fuel costs, we are now having to make some slight alterations to this process. However, in nearly all cases there will remain no charge to potential customers.

sarsfield family crest

It is straightforward enough to give quotes for new memorials, but that is not necessarily the case for an existing one that requires additional inscriptions or renovation. We are only able to give a quote we can be certain of honouring if we can see the extent of any repairs that may be required. With additional lettering for example, the area where they are to be added may need attention first, so it is not necessarily just a case of how much we charge per letter.

If a potential customer can send us a clear good quality recent photograph (i.e. within the last 3 months) of their memorial, then we can give a quote for works required based on this, normally on the same day. Images can be sent to us by email, WhatsApp or iPhone. We are also happy to provide free quotes for anybody who is happy to wait until we are working in a cemetery where their loved ones grave is situated. In some cases, the men may be in the cemetery that day or within a few days, some cemeteries we may only fix in once a fortnight, so if you are prepared to wait till the men are working in the cemetery then no charge will apply, we will always aim to get a quotation to you as quickly as possible.

However in some Churchyards or cemeteries in outlying areas of where we cover such as Southport or Wirral, we may only be there once a month or less. It is in situations like these where a customer does not want to wait until we are there carrying out work and instead a special visit is required, that we are now having to charge a fee prior to providing a quote. We will advise you at the time of your enquiry whether any fee is to be charged for visiting a cemetery.

This step is not something we are comfortable in taking. However the sharp rise in fuel prices in recent months has left us with no other choice. During the last two years we have held our prices despite increases in the cost of materials that are imported from China and India, caused by the global container crisis. To remain viable as a business, we simply have to consider whether or not a journey to a cemetery solely to provide a quote can be justified.

We do hope potential customers understand the situation and can provide us with images of their memorials or be patient and wait until we are working in that particular cemetery. If we do need to charge a fee, we will only advise you of this before providing the quote and will not look at the memorial until you confirm it is ok to go ahead and make a payment, we do aim to keep costs to a minimum if costs do need to be applied. If you do have any queries though please do not hesitate to contact us, we welcome all enquiries.

 

Sarsfield Sponsoring Another Smile & Experience TLC Event

Last month Sarsfield Memorials were proud to sponsor an event at Mossley Hill Athletics Club hosted by Smile & Experience TLC. It was a huge success and we are delighted to be sponsoring another one there on 6th April 2022.

May be an image of 1 person and text that says "GILLIAN ROSS SUPERB PERSONALITY VOCALIST ASTAGE PRESENCE LIKE NO OTHER!!!!"

Smile & Experience TLC provide support in North West England for anyone whose lives have been affected by dementia, whether it be sufferers themselves or family and friends. This includes social gatherings and individually tailored support on a one to one basis. Everything is tailored to the needs of the client.

Last month’s was the first big event they had hosted for two years due to Covid 19 and a cautious approach being adopted even when all restrictions were lifted in July 2021. It featured the NW Charity Singers and Banjo Ukulele Community, singing and playing songs of happiness and days gone by

For the event on 6th April, the star attraction is personality vocalist Gill Ross, a versatile singer who regularly performs at Tess Rileys bar in Great Charlotte Street. In addition to Gill singing lots of favourite songs there will also be bingo and a raffle. The event starts at 11.30am and continues until 3.30pm. Mossley Hill Athletics Club is on Mossley Hill Road and easily accessible by car, bus or train. Unlike last time, there is no need to book tickets in advance. Entry is free and you only need money for drinks and the raffle, the prizes for which have been donated by Sarsfield Memorials.

Sarsfield Memorials are sponsoring this event as part of our 75th anniversary commemorations. We are proud to be able to give something back to the community and delighted to be in partnership with an agency that provides excellent support to dementia sufferers and their carers. So many of our clients have had their lives blighted by this condition but Smile & Experience TLC have made it more manageable for so many.  We are sure this event will be a huge success and look forward to giving more back to the community throughout the year.

 

Sarsfield Sponsoring Happiness & Wellbeing Concert

As part of our 75th anniversary commemorations, Sarsfield Memorials is giving something back to the customers throughout the year. One way we are doing this is by sponsoring some events. The first of these will be a Happiness & Wellbeing Concert that takes place at Mossley Hill Athletics Club on the afternoon of Wednesday 23rd February 2022.

The concert is being hosted in partnership by Smile & Experience TLC and the NW Charity Singers. Smile TLC provide support in the North West for people affected by dementia, including family and friends. This includes social events and bespoke 1-2-1 support, so what is provided is appropriate to individual needs. NW Charity Singers aim to promote happiness and wellbeing through the art of music in all forms.

Prior to the outbreak of Covid 19, Smile TLC’s social events used to take place fortnightly at Mossley Hill Athletic Club. Even though there has been a gradual relaxation of restrictions since April last year, Smile TLC has had to maintain a cautious approach. As such, this will be the first social event they have hosted for two years.

The event starts at 11.30am and finishes by 3.45pm. In addition to the always popular buffet lunch, raffle, bingo and Play Your Cards Right, there will be music by the NW Charity Singers and also the Banjo Ukulele Community, who play songs of yesteryear.

Sarsfield Memorials are proud to be sponsoring this event, as so many of our customers have been affected by dementia. It is a great opportunity for those living with dementia, their friends, partners and carers, to meet people and make new friends in a warm, friendly and welcoming environment. Mossley Hill Athletics Club is on Mossley Hill Road and easily accessible by car, bus or train. It is ticket only and they can be booked by calling 07940 875773.

 

1947 – When It All Began For Sarsfield Memorials

This year Sarsfield Memorials commemorates 75 years of providing memorials to our customers in the Merseyside area. We will be marking this milestone with a number of offers throughout the year and also sponsorship of events.

Black and white photo of a smart man from the 1950's

Offers and events will be announced in the coming weeks and months, but firstly we thought it would be nice to take a look back to how things were in 1947. That was the year James Sarsfield (pictured left) set up in business as a monumental mason.

The Second World War had ended two years earlier and a new global order was being created. The Truman Doctrine signalled the start of the Cold War, as the United States president Harry S. Truman, worried about the influence of the Soviet Union on eastern Europe, set about a policy of containing the further spread of communism. The British Empire was further being broken up, with India and Pakistan both being granted independence that year.

At home, it was the coldest winter on record. Snow lay on the ground for two months and temperatures plunged to -20c in some places. This caused havoc with electricity supplies and with rationing still in place, there were fears of food shortages with vegetables being frozen in the ground.

The big freeze meant the football season had to be extended and First Division fixtures were not completed until the middle of June, when Liverpool were crowned the first post war champions. Later that year there was a royal wedding to celebrate, as King George VI’s eldest daughter Princess Elizabeth, the future Queen Elizabeth II, married Philip Mountbatten, later Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

So there were certainly plenty of goings in the world in 1947 when James set up his business. The youngest of his three sons Terry was fourteen years old and attending St Francis Xavier College which was then based in Salisbury Street, Everton. He would normally have expected to leave school that year, only for the school leaving age to be raised to fifteen. Terry and his two older brothers Bernard and Tony went on to join the business, with Terry travelling to Italy in the 1950s to learn the craft of stonemasonry in Carrara.

Terry, who went on to manage Sarsfield Memorials, is now in his late eighties but is still on hand to offer advice to his daughter Ursula, who has been running the business for the past twenty five years. Ursula is delighted to be at the helm for this milestone year and looks forward to repaying our customers for their loyalty throughout 2022.

A New Year Message For Our Customers

As 2021 draws to a close, Sarsfield Memorials would like to thank all our customers for the continued support during the year which has been another challenging one.

sarsfield family crestThe ongoing issues with Covid have obviously continued to affect the way we work, with many customer consultations having to be done remotely. We have always preferred to see customers face to face in their homes and have been continuing this way, if it could be done safely. However we also appreciate that even if the rules allow meetings there are some who wish to limit who they interact with and we have respected this when discussing orders.

We have also done many appointments at the graveside or a loved ones favourite outdoor location. This has often made it easier for clients to discuss their wishes for the memorial at a difficult time. As a customer-led business, we remain attentive to their needs and do all we can to make our customers feel as comfortable as possible when dealing with them.

Dealing with basic health and wellbeing due to Covid has been difficult enough but the extra challenges faced by the container crisis has been an extra burden. This has led to delivery delays in granite memorials from India and China, as well as price hikes but we have managed to honour original quotations. However our current prices are not sustainable longer term and we will have no option but to increase our prices in 2022.

We head into 2022 not knowing how the Omicron variant will affect our daily lives, but are hopeful our customers can have a safe and healthy New Year. Throughout 2022 we will be marking the 75th anniversary of Sarsfield Memorials foundation with a number of special offers as well as supporting community events and charities. Please keep an eye on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages for updates, which will be updating at least once a month.

Once again, thank you to all our customers for their continued loyalty and support and we look forward to providing a service over the next twelve months and beyond.

Sarsfield Memorials is 75 Next Year

2022 is nearly upon us and that means the Sarsfield family will have been offering memorial services to bereaved families in Liverpool for 75 years. To commemorate this milestone Sarsfield Memorials will be supporting community events and making special offers available for customers.

We were founded in 1947 and have been very fortunate that most of our customers are through word of mouth and recommendations. This has led to us getting many repeat customers and serving many generations of the same family over time. We visit you in the comfort of your home or at the graveside, but can also work with you and confirm orders by email for families further afield. We are customer led and aim to make the process as simple as possible for you.

At Sarsfield Memorials we pride ourselves on the first class service we offer, which has been passed through the generations. Ursula and the team love to hear stories from customers about their loved ones. So many of these have changed throughout the generations and always sound more interesting years later.

Throughout 2022 Ursula and the team wish to share their achievement of 75 years as a family business with families who have graves in the Liverpool area. Each month, we will be offering discounts or something for free to customers and the wider community.

In January (Covid 19 permitting) we will be funding a community event with Smile & Experience TLC . This is a Community Interest Company supporting those affected by dementia. It will be held at Mossley Hill Athletics Club with a singer and buffet, date to be confirmed. A further community event will be funded in May, with details to be announced nearer the time.

Between February and April, then June and December, please check our special offers page regularly. They will have one off offers added and once they are gone they will not be repeated.

These offers will take the form of discounted new memorials, free cleaning of an existing memorial, free insurance, free coloured glass chippings on kerb memorials, a free goodie bag, bottle of wine, chocolates and flowers. We really look forward to sharing them with our customers during 2022.

 

Councils Not Liable For Grave Thefts

In recent months we have become aware of damage to and thefts from memorials in two of Liverpool’s cemeteries, Allerton and Everton. This is despicable behaviour but grave thefts are something local authorities are not liable for. It is the grave owners responsibility to arrange insurance cover against such acts. 

grave thefts

The incidents were obviously deeply upsetting for those visiting graves of their loved ones, only to find ornaments mindlessly smashed, or in some cases stone chippings taken. Whereas it is easy to ask what the council or police are doing to stop such acts, the reality of doing so is somewhat different. Cemeteries cover such a large area that even if the resources were available to have mobile patrols on site at all times, there remains opportunity for someone determined enough to commit the act. 

The logistics and cost of covering every plot with CCTV is far too prohibitive, not to mention intrusive on mourners. This means that those who are damaging or stealing items know that there is little chance of getting caught once they have done what they set out to. 

If your memorial or associated ornamentation is damaged in any way, the blow can be softened somewhat if you have insurance. This is something we recommend via Stoneguard Memorial Insurance, provides cover against theft and vandalism as well as a range of other problems, including storm and frost damage. Policies are available for as little as £6.20 a year.

Most local authorities will only accept liability for damage to memorials if negligence can be proven. When applying for permission to erect a memorial in any of Liverpool city council’s cemeteries, the applicant must declare whether or not they have accepted memorial insurance. The form is clear in that the council accepts no responsibility for any damage caused by vandalism or maintenance operations unless there is proven negligence. Therefore, we really do recommend you take out memorial insurance to cover against either wanton or accidental damage to your memorial.