Children’s Memorials and Ornamentation

Should you be in the tragic situation of losing a child, there is now some comfort in that cemeteries are a lot more flexible in the type of memorials and ornamentation that are allowed on children’s graves.

Gone are the rigid ruletraingraves of days gone by when the only indication that a headstone was that of a child was the inscription indicating age and a possible symbol of a cherub. Nowadays memorials often come in the shape of teddy bears and stars, we can also offer unusual design gravestones including a piece of a jigsaw puzzle or a children’s television or story book character. There is no need to consider just a general headstone, as memorials can also be made in the shape of cars, trains and butterflies to name a few.

In cemeteries where kerbsets are allowed, coloured chippings can be added allowing extra space at which you can place extra ornamentation, vases, memorial plaques, the child’s toys or windmills.

There is an almost unlimited range of symbols that can be etched onto children’s gravestones. Winnie the Pooh characters are common, as are Thomas the Tank Engine and Fairies. However it also possible to etch or carve favourite cartoon characters or your childs’ preferred toy onto gravestones, or a photograph or laser etching of your precious son or daughter.

When it comes to inscriptions, ‘in the arms of angels’ and ‘held for a moment, loved for a lifetime’ are two examples of what can be used on children’s and babies headstones. It is becoming increasingly common to see more brightly coloured lettering on children’s memorials. Often families find comfort in making a gravestone colourful and very personal, as you do not want to visit the cemetery and spend a lifetime of sadness visiting a grave; Instead you want to think of the precious moments you shared and what life could and would have been like if your precious baby or child had lived.

At Sarsfield Memorials we provide a range of children’s headstones and can offer advice on inscriptions and ornamentation. We endeavour to guide parents with our expert knowledge, while always being compassionate and attentive to their wishes. A customer who we have had the honour of helping at this very distressing time said to us ‘On that first time we saw the gravestone we cried with sadness, then we saw the beauty within the stone and it made us smile.’ We like to think that through your grief we can help you and your family smile again, by working with you to produce a special memorial that reflects the precious time you all shared together






You will always see a final drawing showing the memorial before we carry out the work, this gives you time to reflect before the final gravestone is made and lettered. All our memorials are made out of the finest quality materials and fitted to NAMM standard. If you require further information or just an informal chat please contact us.


Headstone Insurance

Vandalism or accidental damage to headstones can be costly to repair. Graffiti, falling trees, subsidence and lawnmowers are examples of how gravestones can suffer damage, whether it be accidental or wanton.

Earlier this year thirty Storm Damaged Gravestone in Ohio (Anne Mitchell Flickr)gravestones were damaged in Rhymney in South Wales when a tree fell during a storm, while last year nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale’s memorial in Hampshire was removed from its plinth by a tree falling in high winds. Sadly damage to headstones can also be deliberate, as was the case in July 2014 when three youths went on a wrecking spree in a cemetery in Bidston and caused damage estimated at a total of £300,000 to one hundred gravestones

Peace of mind is available though with Stoneguard, which has been the leading headstone insurance policy for over thirty years. Sarsfield Memorials can value the memorial and set up the policy, including issuing a Certificate so you have immediate cover. We will do all the paperwork and correspondence with Bridge Insurance Brokers who are underwritten by Royal Sun Alliance, with cover available for as little as £5.60 per year renewable every five years. Claims are processed and repairs or replacement carried out to get your loved one’s gravestone back to it’s original state as quickly as possible.

Stoneguard’s policy is a straight forward ‘all risk one’ in that you can not choose to insure against certain causes of damage but not others. It covers damage to your headstone caused by storms, accidents, vandalism, subsidence and falling trees, allowing for replacement if necessary.  It also provides personal liability of up to £2 million for any injuries caused by your headstone to members of the public but there are exemptions in respect of the insured and certain family members. The insurance policy does not cover wear and tear and damage to the headstone appearance caused by sunlight, weathering, nuclear incidents, terrorism or acts of war.

Premiums are available for headstones in all UK cemeteries and churchyards and are based on the value of your headstone, with no variations according to your geographical region. For gravestones up to the value of £400, cover costs £28 for five years, while a headstone valued at £751-1000 costs £59 and for a memorial worth £2501-3250 it is £167. For any gravestones that have a higher value than this, please call Sarsfield Memorials on 0151 228 5616 for a quote. A full list of premiums up to the value of £3250 can be found here.

Given payouts for claims made include £419 for graffiti in Glasgow, £1,056 for a falling tree in Surrey and £4,560 for vandalism in Devon, you really ought to give headstone insurance serious consideration. In fact some local authorities will not allow new headstones to be erected in their cemeteries without insurance. With the Chancellor raising insurance premium tax from 6.5% to 9% on 1st November, now is the time to take out cover for your gravestone. Here at Sarsfield Memorials we can arrange cover for you and will also be happy to discuss the policy in more detail. If you would like to do this please call Ursula Sarsfield on 0151 228 5616



When you buy a headstone from Sarsfield Memorials we will always advise on how to keep it clean and what to use. If you are looking to clean an existing gravestone, we are happy to give free advice along with a  no obligation quote for us to do the work if you change your mind about doing it yourself.

To the man on the street, cleaning gravestones appears to be a very simple and easy task, thanks to all the wonderful cleaning products that are available on the internet from Ebay and Amazon and on the high street. However nothing could be further from the truth!

Gravestone before cleaning

Sandstone is a sedimentary rock, granite is igneous, marble and Portland stone are metaphoric and slate is a fine-grained, foliated and homogeneous metamorphic rock. All these natural materials will retain products that are rubbed in or brushed on because they reflect the weather at the time they are applied. Whether damp or dry, the chemicals will react with the material in different ways and will cause deterioration of the stone. Unless you know and understand the geology of the material your headstone is made from, we would never advise a family to clean a memorial using chemicals. Instead just use water and a soft sponge.

The atmospheric agents and retail chemicals (cleaning products) will particularly affect memorials erected close to main roads. Limestone and marble headstones will crystalise and be eaten away. The material over time will become more rough and this will attract more dirt and grime, making the gravestone more delicate. Do not ever use anything abrasive on any headstone as you could cause damage that cannot be repaired. Lettering can also be damaGravestone after cleaningged by cleaning a memorial. Leaded letters can change colour depending on the chemicals used, while painted and gilded letters can be damaged and possibly eradicated, which then means extra cost to you as you will need to instruct a Monumental Mason to rectify the problem.

Please be very cautious, we would not advise anyone to clean their own headstone. Make the correct decision when extending the life of your memorial and remember it is always cheaper to have a gravestone professionally cleaned by a Monumental Mason than to replace it.

At Sarsfield Memorials we have skilled craftsmen who can restore just about any gravestone to a near new appearance no matter what the material is, as the before and after photos on this page show. This service is available throughout the North West and examples of before and after cleaning are shown in the photographs accompanying this article. If you contact us we will be happy to discuss your requirements and give a free no obligation quote.