Why Adlington Memorial Park offers a more creative way of saying 'goodbye'.
PUBLISHED: 14:47 20 September 2018 | UPDATED: 15:43 18 October 2018
Adlington Memorial Park is not only an idyllic spot in the middle of the Cheshire countryside it’s also a tranquil place for reflection.
Dwelling on the subject of our own mortality, especially when it comes to funerals isn’t at the top on everyone’s ‘to do list’.
But with the diminishing number of available plots in churchyards and cemeteries it’s a subject that is becoming increasingly more urgent.
Adlington Memorial Park is a new 26-acre privately owned burial ground that gives people from every walk of life a more creative and natural option for their last great adventure.
Imagine having as a final resting place the grounds of an impressive Grade 1 listed building? With its rolling hills, abundance of trees and wildflower garden, Adlington Memorial Park is not only an idyllic spot in the middle of the Cheshire countryside it’s also a tranquil place for reflection.
The hall itself dates back to the time of William the Conqueror but you don’t have to have a title or enormous wealth to share in its beauty and ecological benefits. With options ranging from the scattering or interment of ashes to single, double or larger family burial plots in a memorial garden, there is a choice here for anyone, whatever their circumstances.Everything within the 26 acre former Medieval deer park is about simplicity and the feel of a return to nature. Perpendicular marble headstones are replaced by simple, inscribed stone plaques placed flat in the earth and surrounded by the wild flowers, grass and trees that serve as a living memory to cherished loved ones.
Of course, death is not an easy thing to talk about, whether it’s the prospect of your own demise, or the passing of a loved one but the memorial park’s owner, Cheshire businessman Mark Simpkin has swept away many outdated conventions to make the business of funerals and burials a less intimidating experience.
For example, a visit to their office at Shrigley Hall is as far removed from the traditional funeral parlour as you can possibly get, designed to put people at ease from the minute they step through the doors.
Mark and his team can take you every step of the way, whether you contact them at a very difficult time when a loved one has passed away or are planning your own funeral or burial, they offer a host of options to avoid the ‘conveyor belt’ experience of back-to-back funerals on your chosen day .
In addition to offering a choice of plots at the Memorial Park, they pride themselves on being able to reduce the stress of dealing with lots of different people by offering a fully inclusive funeral service, which can include all aspects of a funeral that is designed around the individual, even down to a favourite colour, poem, or sandwich filling; in fact anything that will make life easier for you or fulfil the last wishes of your loved one.
Those with sufficient funds may choose a family burial plot for up to a dozen people, while others may opt to inter or scatter ashes. There’s a tree for life scheme plus plaques and benches in memory of a loved one.
There are also options to take up a funeral plan, where everything from the music and mourning attire can be pre-arranged and the burial paid for in advance, so that people don’t have to make important decisions at an extremely difficult time or place a financial burden on their family.
Mark explains how the decision to open the Adlington Memorial Park came about: ‘We bought a church about eight years ago and during the planning process of converting it into apartments it became really, really clear that there was a massive lack of burial space in our area and within a 50 mile radius.
‘I know the people at Adlington Hall, so together we put together a proposal for a natural burial park, which is in keeping with this stunning area.
‘It would be the same as any other cemetery apart from the fact that everything that comes onto site has to meet our sustainable ethos .’
Being a natural burial ground doesn’t mean a person’s love of a football team or pursuit can’t be reflected in their final resting place, it just has to be done a little more imaginatively.
‘We can always find a way to respect people’s wishes or reflect their personality in a natural way, ‘ says Mark.
‘ For example, there was a young man who was a big Man City fan but rather than bring in blue scarves and football memorabilia we have planted masses of blue poppy seed. It is still possible to recognise the things that make people who they are.’
Ceremonies at the memorial park are also encouraged.
‘For us it is very much about a celebration of life rather than a sad event,’ says Mark.
‘We also do Direct Crem, which is something David Bowie made famous. Basically we involve the crematorium but the mourners don’t go there. The deceased is collected by us and taken into our care, the cremation takes place and then the celebration of life takes place here at the park at a time and date chosen by the family. It’s a different way of doing it and that’s a real low cost option.
‘That means, although we are set in Cheshire’s golden triangle we can offer a full funeral for under £2,000, compared to the average cost of a funeral which is £4,500. You can also spend £15,000 on a memorial garden.
‘The beauty is that we are privately owned and can set our own rules. We will try and cater for everything if we can as long as it fits with what we are trying to do as a natural memorial park.’