New Years Eve at Cemeteries in Chile

New Year traditions vary around the world. In the South American country of Chile New Years Eve is now spent by many families visiting the graves of their loved ones.

The practice is believed to have started in 1995 in the city of Talca, 158 miles south of the capital Santiago. One family climbed into the cemetery on New Years Eve to be beside the grave of their father, who had recently passed away. Rather than enforce the law, local authorities have taken the pragmatic view that it is a practice that should be encouraged rather than stopped.

Chile New Years Eve

The entrance to Talca’s General Cemetery

Cemetery gates now remain open, with families commemorating their deceased members in various ways. For some it is a case of being by the graveside in quiet reflection, while others like to have bring something to eat and drink. To add some warmth and light, small fires are sometimes lit. Its not a case of going home when finished either, as many will then sleep by the graveside until daylight in temperatures that are not uncomfortable due to it being summer in the Southern Hemisphere.

Those that undertake this Chile New Years Eve tradition believe it is a key part of the bereavement process. They feel it can bring luck in the new year and also helps the souls of the deceased, making them at peace knowing they have been visited at this special time. It brings a sense of reunification with their loved ones and helps rekindle the notion that life is valuable and needs to be enjoyed.

It is estimated nowadays that 5,000 families undertake this tradition, in a city of around 200,000 inhabitants. Talca is famous for being where Bernardo O’Higgins signed the Declaration of Independence in 2018, freeing Chile from Spanish rule. Traditionally tourists have visited due to it being a wine producing region and its role in the Catholic church in Chile. However it is also slowly developing a reputation for this unique New Years Eve tradition.

 

 

 

Customer Feedback

As Christmas approaches, its a time to reflect on the year gone by. We are Liverpool’s oldest family run monumental mason business and we have continued to get great satisfaction from the customer feedback we get when jobs are completed. The memorials and services we supply bring happiness to so many customers, as we are providing a lasting tribute to their loved one.

customer feedback

We take pride in our personal service, engaging with customers at their homes, or wherever else they may feel comfortable, so we can get to know and understand their requirements. In providing two memorials for a lady’s husband and father, we engaged and allowed her to take her time in making the right choices. The result was two kerbed memorials and on completion we received a lovely message form the customer which said ” Absolutely beautiful memorials for my husband and dad, excellent service to our family so kind, caring from the very start to the finish more than a five star service and a very professional service from all the team who fitted them with utter respect. We are so pleased with everything and fully recommend Sarsfields memorials, worth every single penny as the quality of the finished kerb memorials are exceptional and everything we asked for and more! Thank you to Ursula you are a very special lady with a heart of Gold, you would make your grandfather and father so proud.”

We also take pride in receiving feedback from people who have had memorials cleaned and restored, making them look brand new. One such example this year is from the family of a lady who was buried in her parents’ grave, 38 years after the last interment. The white headstone was blackened and lettering beginning to come off. However were able to clean it and do some re-lettering and received the following response – “We can’t believe its the same headstone, the standard of the work you have carried out is exceptional and we are all so pleased. It is now a fitting memorial to a lovely aunt and sister and her parents.”

These are just two examples of the customer feedback we have received over the last year. We have been operating for 71 years. The current owner Ursula Sarsfield is the third generation to run the company and looks forward to doing so for many years to come.

Floral Grave Images

Floral grave images can add to a memorial, bringing a sense of sorrow, love and warmth to your loved one’s final resting place. They can also add brightness and colour, helping celebrate their life rather than mourn it.

floral grave images

There is no end to the number of designs for floral grave images, with some flowers having specific meanings. A rose, for example, signifies everlasting love and beauty. Two roses indicate the memorial is for a couple. Other indications of undying love are myrtles and tulips.

Peoples humility may be commemorated by violets and ferns. Ferns are also the national flower of New Zealand and may be used to show nationality too, as do New Zealand commonwealth war graves. Other flowers that are linked to nationality are thistles for Scots and shamrocks for Irish.

Buds, daisies and lilies however, are more commonly associated with children. They are more likely to represent the innocence of a child and purity. Everlasting life and rebirth is symbolised by ivy, corn, lotus and marigold. Brighter flowers, sunflowers being an example, are signs of celebrating life.

You may however not wish to have such bright or celebratory floral grave images. If you prefer a more traditional sorrowful image, then willows and wreaths are more appropriate.

floral grave images

Depending on the material of your headstone, floral grave images may be hand carved, laser etched or sandblasted. They can be the same colour as the lettering, or if you prefer to add some brightness then original colours work just as well.

Modern techniques mean that we can bespoke the image to your requirements. At Sarsfield Memorials we are able to guide you on what techniques and colours work best with different materials. If you would like to discuss floral grave images as part of a new memorial or adding to an existing one, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss your requirements.

 

 

 

Stockbridge Village War Memorial

The Tenants’ Forum at Stockbridge Village are installing a new memorial on Remembrance Sunday to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.
Stockbridge Village
Stockbridge Village celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 2016. It was initially developed as Cantril Farm, part of a wider scheme to rehouse people from slum conditions in inner -city Liverpool. The name changed to Stockbridge Village in the 1980s when the land was transferred from Knowsley Council to the Stockbridge Village Trust, a non profit making private company. There was then community led refurbishment of housing and recreational areas from within, giving residents what they needed, not what external planners thought they did.
For over thirty years the Tenants Forum has taken the lead on many events in Stockbridge Village, such as the annual family Gala Day and Christmas Grotto. For the last fourteen years it has taken the the lead on the estate wide North West in Bloom project. The group actively raises funds independently to finance its activities, with the most recent big project being the memorial.
The group fundraises to finance all its activities including the cost of tin the Stockbridge Village Memorial independently. The idea for the memorial came in 2015 after the closure of St Jude’s Church. The Reverend Glyn Thompson believed that a memorial marking the fiftieth anniversary could become a focal point for community services such as Remembrance Sunday.

The Tenants Forum took up Reverend Thompson’s suggestion and originally wanted the memorial in place for November 2016. However there were some unavoidable delays and eventually it was decided to aim for the fiftieth anniversary of the Armistice.

Sarsfield Memorials has been honoured to help and the memorial is now in place next to the Neighbourhood Centre, ready to host the Remembrance Sunday commemorations on 11th November 2018 at 1045am. It contains slabs that celebrate the achievements of the living, commemorate the dead and the fiftieth anniversary of the estate. A fourth slab simply says ‘Erected by the Tenants Forum 2018.’

Headstone Safety Is Your Responsibility

Headstone safety is not something that should be taken for granted, even for relatively recent memorials. It is so easy to assume that it is only headstones from the Victorian era that will be laid flat in cemeteries, but that needn’t be the case at all.

headstone safety

A headstone before and after safety work carried out (not the blog customers)

One of Sarsfield Memorials recent orders was from a customer who was surprised that their family headstone, which was last removed and replaced in 1994, was easily movable. The customer explained that whilst replacing flowers at the grave, they steadied themselves by putting a hand on top of the headstone, only for it to slide a number of inches across the base. Only the presence of a memorial at the plot to the rear prevented it toppling over.

After contacting Sarsfield Memorials, the customer was advised that prior to the British Standard 8415 being introduced fifteen years ago, there was little regulation for headstone safety. Prior to that, the National Association of Memorial Masons (NAMM) had set themselves certain standards to adhere to, but these were not enforceable by law. Sadly it took the death of a child in 2000 for the government to intervene and regulate the industry. This led to BS8415 in 2005, which has twice been re-evaluated since.

Nowadays, all of Merseyside’s cemeteries  will only allow masons to work in them who adhere to the regulations laid out by the Health and a Safety executives inline with BS8415. This offers reassurance to the public that their loved ones memorials will be affixed to a minimum standard. Periodic testing takes place of all headstones, with those that cannot withstand a certain force being laid flat. If this happens, then it is the responsibility of the grave owner to have the memorial re-fixed, not the local authority.

Our recent customer’s experience showed that even more memorials less than twenty years old can be unsafe. This family had only taken ownership of their family grave in the last decade so had assumed it would be properly anchored, but this had turned out not to be the case. However Sarsfield’s were able to affix the headstone to the BS8415 standard for a competitive price, leaving peace of mind that there will be no nasty surprises next time they visit the grave.

John Ryle – First Bishop of Liverpool

John Ryle, who was appointed the first Bishop of Liverpool when the diocese was created in 1880, is buried in the churchyard at All Saints Church, Childwall.

Bishop of Liverpool

Ryle was the son of a banker from Henbury, near Macclesfield in Cheshire. He was born in 1816 and went to school at Eton, then university at Oxford. After becoming seriously ill with chest problems whilst studying, he turned to God and read the Bible daily.

The illness was the first incident that sent Ryle into a career with the church and the second was his father being declared bankrupt. This ended his ambitions of becoming a Member of Parliament and he instead took holy orders, becoming a curate at the parish church in Exbury, Hampshire in 1842. The following year he transferred to Winchester and went on to have positions in Suffolk in the 1860s then, Norfolk, Cambridge and Oxford in the 1870s.

Ryle developed a reputation for giving sermons that were straightforward and fair, communicating across all classes with ease. He even developed a following in Central America, where a Reform Church was established in Mexico after reading one of his religious publications.

Although he had a progressive career with the church, there was tragedy in Ryle’s personal life. By the time he was 45 years old he had been widowed twice and had four children. In 1861 he married his third wife Henrietta, who he remained together with for 28 years until her death in 1889.

Early in 1880 Ryle was appointed as Dean of Salisbury. However almost immediately he was put forward to be the first Bishop of Liverpool after the creation of the new See. Ryle felt he was too old but Prime Minister Lord Beaconsfield dismissed his concerns, telling him he was of strong health. On 11th June that year he was formally consecrated at a ceremony in York Minister.

Image may contain: plant, grass, outdoor and nature

Ryle lived on the edge of the city centre at 19 Abercromby Square, formerly the home of a confederate supporter in the US Civil War. It had been bought by the Diocese and was as the Bishop’s Palace.

A big factor in Ryle’s appointment was his ability to speak in a language and tone that all classes could understand. This was his first appointment in a large urban area and the people of Liverpool soon took to him. He had a large frame and exuded an air of authority, but he was also softly spoken and saw his role as ensuring moral principles were adhered to. He soon set about organising the construction of churches across the city so that the message could be taken out to the people. He also called for local clergy to have more of an active role in the development of church policies.

As the 19th Century drew to a close Ryle began to suffer healthwise. His assistant, Bishop Royston, undertook his public engagements and it was announced that Ryle would formally retire on 1st March 1900. He moved to Lowestoft in Suffolk where he died three months later on 10th June. He was then interred at Childwall alongside his wife.

 

 

 

 

Sarsfield Memorials Liverpool – Home Visits

Sarsfield Memorials is Liverpool’s longest running family run memorial mason business, operating since 1947. Most of our work comes through personal recommendation and repeat orders, and we believe that our policy of coming to you for the initial discussion on your requirements is a key reason for this.

Liverpool Memorial Masons Home Visits

We do not believe in the hard sell. We feel that you coming to our workshop to view samples only puts you under pressure to leave once an order has been placed. Choosing  a memorial for your loved one’s grave is a decision that will affect your family for generations. As such you need to make it at your pace and when you are comfortable doing so.

At Sarsfield we know that you will most likely be far more comfortable choosing the right memorial in the comfort of your own home. Sat in your favourite armchair with a cup of tea, you’ll be able to browse through our brochure, view inscription samples and  ask any questions without feeling any pressure. If you can come to a decision then, we can provide a written quote within 48 hours but if you need more time to think or consult others, then you can contact us when you are ready.

Our experience shows that customers can understand far better what their memorial requirements are in a place where they are at ease, not in a workshop or sales office. However, we don’t limit visits to the home. We are happy to come and see you wherever is convenient for you. If you are more settled in your local pub, coffee shop, community centre or even your workplace, we will see you there. If these locations make you feel more relaxed and allow others involved in the selection process to meet us too, then we are happy to come there.

Perhaps the most unusual place we have seen somebody in recent months was their local travel agents where they were booking a holiday. Their thinking was once the memorial was sorted, they then knew how much was left over for a break (or perhaps it was the other way around!). We have also met a family in a car park with a view of the River Mersey because this was where they used to sit in the car with a picnic, watching the boats on the river and sharing their memories.

The simple message from Sarsfield Memorials is that wherever you are within thirty miles of Liverpool city centre, we will come and see you. If you would like to arrange a visit please contact us.

 

Christmas is Coming

There are now less than one hundred days to go until Christmas. It will be here much sooner than you think. If you are looking to have a memorial installed by then, have remedial work done or use our Christmas grave visits services, you need to get your orders in quickly.

Christmas Grave Visits

For new memorials, standard designs take about six weeks from enquiry to installation, but bespoke ones can take three months, possibly longer.  The process can be delayed further in winter months though by wet and windy weather, snow or frost. The same goes for additional inscriptions or memorial cleaning. Christmas is often the first time family members visit a grave together, so to avoid disappointment please place your order soon as our diary is filling up fast.

As usual, we will be offering a grave visiting service for those who are unable to get to their loved one’s resting place if it is in Liverpool, Knowsley or south Sefton. Whether this is due to living away from the area, disability or the weather, we can lay a holly wreath for you or leave other flowers of your choice. We will also ensure the area around the grave is tidy, removing any litter or old flowers and clean the vase.

Our cemetery visits for Christmas grave tending take place in the week up to Christmas Eve. After the visit has been completed we will send you a photograph of the grave by email or post.

In partnership with Hunter’s Flowers, we can supply bespoke rustic grave pots for Christmas. The price of these starts at just £7 and they also supply fresh and artificial flower arrangements. If you are interested in one of these or our other seasonal services, or are hoping to have a memorial installed or restored before Christmas, please contact us for a free no obligation quote.

 

Graves of St Peter’s Church Woolton

St Peter’s Church Woolton,  Liverpool is visited by scores of Beatles fans every day to see the grave of Eleanor Rigby. It is also the final resting place of former Liverpool FC manager Bob Paisley, the only British boss to win three European Cups. In addition to these two notable interments, there are many more worth paying respects to as well.

St Peters Church WooltonThe original St Peter’s Church was built in 1826 using sandstone from a local quarry. It sat 200 but by the 1880s it was far too small for the growing Woolton population. The new 500 capacity church was opened in October 1887 and its ninety feet tower is the highest point in Liverpool.

The grave that most people come to see is that of Eleanor Rigby, who died in 1939 at the age of 44 in the same house in which she was born in nearby Vale Road. Eleanor was a hospital worker and the granddaughter of a local stonemason. When asked in 1984 if the gravestone was an inspiration for the Beatles song of the same name, Paul McCartney responded that it wasn’t, but as he had cut through the cemetery many times with John Lennon it may well have been in his subconscious.

Bob Paisley’s grave is a very humble one, containing the inscription ‘He remained an ordinary man amid extraordinary achievements’. Paisley died of Alzheimer’s Disease in 1996 and buried alongside him is his devoted wife Jessie, who passed away in 2012. Paisley’s son Graham is the present verger of the church.

In the far left corner of the older section of the churchyard is the grave of a hero from the Crimean War. William Sewell suffered a serious head wound during the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava in 1854 and was medically discharged from the army aged just 23. He took a job as a coachman for the Earle family and remained with them for forty years, working for them at Spekelands in Edge Hill and then Allerton Hall. Sewell, who was living in Rose Lane when he died in 1910, is buried in the grave alongside his wife two of his three children.

Members of Sewell’s employers, the Earle family are buried in St Peters Church Woolton too. Sir Hardman Earle, who died aged 84 in 1877, was a director of the London & North Western Railway Company and Justice of the Peace. His eldest son Sir Thomas Earle was Mayor of Liverpool in 1853. He died in 1900 at the age of 77 and was also buried in the churchyard. The Earle family seat, Allerton Hall, is now a pub and restaurant.

 

Cremated Remains Plots Are Cheaper Long Term

Around three quarters of funerals in the United Kingdom nowadays involve a cremation rather than burial. This compares to just a third sixty years ago. However, along with this move towards cremation, there is also an increasing trend for families to inter their loved ones ashes rather than have them scattered at a favourite spot.

cremated remains plots

It is now common in cemeteries to see whole sections that are only for cemated remains. Unlike with regular burials, urns can be interred at any time after death so families have time on their side to decide on what is the right option. There is no reason either why some ashes cannot be scattered at a special place, with the remainder being interred in a cemetery. By adding a memorial, it provides somewhere permanent to visit and place flowers and have moments of reflection.

Quite often families have scattered but purchase a colonnade niche as somewhere to go and remember them. At Anfield Cemetery for example, colonnade niches can be bought where a memorial plaque can be placed, behind which caskets can also be stored if the family wishes.

In the longer run, buying a plot for the interment of cremated remains can be cheaper than colonnade niches that can often be seen at crematoria. The niches have to be renewed every five however at the cost of £229 (as at August 2018), or every ten years for £456. When you compare that to the cost of £632 for a cremated remains plot that is yours for 75 years, in which up to four urns can be interred, the niches are only cheaper in the shorter term.

Cremated remains plots are not limited to just having a simple headstone installed as a memorial, although its height is restricted to three feet six inches. They retain the scope to have kerbsets and ornaments too and if you are transferring to a plot from a colonnade niche, the original plaque can be added to it if you wish.This provides a spot to reflect with family members inscribed onto a headstone even if the ashes are no interred there.

Three of Liverpool City Council’s six cemeteries – Allerton Anfield and Kirkdale, offer plots that are solely for cremated remains. They provide a place where you can remember your loved one that you can develop to your specifications within their guidelines, that is also of low maintenance.  Sarsfield Memorials provide a range of memorial options for cremated remains plot. If you are considering such a memorial, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss your requirements and provide a free no obligation quote.