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.

 

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.

 

 

Sarsfield’s War Memorials

Remembrance Sunday is upon us once more, when we remember those who gave their lives in the two world wars and later conflicts. Across the United Kingdom, many people will gather at war memorials to pay their respects for the first time in two years, with 2020’s commemorations being severely curtailed due to Covid 19 restrictions.

Although monumental masons are associated mainly with the provision and restoration of headstones in cemeteries, they are also able to work on war memorials too and at Sarsfield it has been no different.

In 2018, to mark one hundred years since the end of World War One, Sarsfield worked on a memorial for Stockbridge Village, which was placed in the Neighbourhood Centre there. The idea for the memorial came about following the closure of St Jude’s Church in 2016. The Tenants’ Forum raised funds to finance the memorial, which contains slabs commemorating both the living and dead.

Another memorial project that Sarsfield were involved in was the Hale Village war memorial, back in 2004. The cenotaph at the corner of High Street and Town Lane was dedicated, with the Hale branch of the Royal British Legion also being launched. Sarsfield’s involvement in this project was the cleaning of a boulder stone then carving the names of eleven soldiers from both world wars who had Hale connections (photo right by Phil Nash). This had come about following extensive research by the Hale War Memorial Restoration Committee. The boulder had been donated by Asda, having once stood outside their store in Halebank.

Hale Village War Memorial Sarsfield were proud to be involved in the Hale Village war memorial rededication, the original cenotaph having first been unveiled in 1920 by Lord Chavasse. The wider project also involved the provision of railings, the original ones having been melted down for the war effort during World War Two. The newly cleaned was blessed, hundreds paraded through the village and Jim Ross of the British Legion told the press “Everything came together well at the end and it was a magnificent occasion”.

Private graves may be Sarsfield’s day to day business, but it is always nice to have variety. It was very satisfying for us to be involved in such poignant events with these war memorials that remember so many brave servicemen and women.

 

Be Cautious Over Grave Care Services

The Covid 19 pandemic has seen a rise in the number of small businesses offering grave care services. As a licensed monumental mason that has been operating for over seventy years, we would urge caution however if you are planning to use one of these grave care services.

A headstone before and after it was cleaned by Sarsfield Memorials craftsmen

In most local authorities, no license is needed to tend to or clean a grave. One exception is Knowsley, where a cemetery a permit is required. Cemetery fees also apply to the Archdiocese run Ford and Yew Tree cemeteries. Cemeteries were no permit or fee is required, including those maintained by Liverpool city council, mean that there is nothing to stop businesses offering to clean and tidy up graves, as well as change ornamentation or chippings for example.

The pandemic has limited most people’s ability to travel and forced many to shield and/or isolate. This has provided a perfect opportunity for grave care services to step in and fill a void, offering to clean and tidy the area around memorials. Some of these companies have been joining local history and cemetery groups on social media to try and gain customers. They have seized on any posts showing photos of headstones in need of TLC to plug themselves.

Genealogy has become increasingly popular during Covid. People furloughed from work, or unable to enjoy their usual hobbies, have been using the opportunity to research their family history. Graves of long-lost relatives have been uncovered, many times in a state of disrepair. This has become another opportunity for grave care services businesses to step in and target potential customers, offering to locate their plots in the cemetery, as well as giving the opportunity of a clean-up.

Some grave care services have gone beyond simple cleaning and tidying of graves, taking advantage of customers not knowing the rules. An example is regilding of lettering using poor quality paint or using filler on leaded letters which is not allowed and would not be done by experienced masons. However, the reality is most customers would not generally know this, until it is too late.

Our staff have also observed another grave care company remove a headstone to clean it, then not replace it properly with an anchoring system. Aside from the operative having no authority to do this, at some point in the future the grave owner will face a bill to have the memorial made safe. Even worse they could have a legal case again them regarding the safety and stability of the memorial if an accident should occur, or the council are within their rights to lay it flat.

One cemetery friends’ group has made us aware that one company went as far as digging into the ground and disturbing a grave to find the brick that marks the plot number, then placed a pole there so it could be located by the relative, disturbing any burial grave like they did is not allowed.

We recommend that you research masons local to the area, read reviews on the companies, check they are registered with local councils, speak to them and ask questions. If you are handing over money for a job that you cannot do yourself, pay for a quality job by experienced masons.

If you do decide against a mason and use grave care services providers, which we acknowledge offer competitive rates, to clean your memorial, please check their reviews and ask to see proof of liability insurance. Also ask to see examples of their work a few years down the line, to see what if any damage has occurred. There is a risk that memorials can be ruined if they are not cleaned with the right materials, ask how they are cleaned and what products are used.

If you are going to use a grave services company, please shop around and do not accept the first offer that comes along, especially if they contact you via social media or are touting for business in the Cemetery. Be wary of any approaches in cemeteries at weekends. Monumental Masons are only allowed to work in cemeteries over the weekends by consent, work is generally not carried out over the weekends unless the weather has been exceptionally bad or the mason is very busy. This is because the Cemeteries have a lot more visitors over the weekends and families like to pay their respects to their loved ones without machinery going in the background. Also the cemetery staff (who only work Monday to Friday) like to monitor the Masons and what work is carried out in the cemeteries.

Sarsfield Memorials is Liverpool’s oldest family run monumental mason business and we offer grave tendering and cleaning services. In some cases, our prices may be higher than grave care services, but we are confident that this is reflected in the quality of our work. If you would like to discuss the cleaning of a memorial, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss your requirements and provide a free no obligation quote.